August 17, 2017

Isaiah 53:6 (NLT) — 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

I would like to carry the thought of yesterday that, the Christian does not live on appearances but on the promises of God, a little further.

We have all heard of the phrase, “That was a blessing in disguise.” Meaning that what looked like it wasn’t going to be good ended up being a blessing. Imagine the sigh of relief breathed by the person who got a flat tire on the way to her job at the towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. To her that flat tire was a blessing in disguise. Or the person that woke up with the flu and was so sick they couldn’t get out of bed to travel across the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge on August 1, 2007 to get to work. Again to them that flu was now a blessing in disguise.

In 1972 after having a few nights when I woke up fighting to breathe I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Bronchial Asthma. Not wanting to live on pills and inhalers I started looking for alternative ways to combat this asthma. I researched different vitamins to take. I was tested for food allergies and other allergies. I started eating healthy and eliminating foods that bothered me. I also started lifting weights, riding bicycle and walking on a treadmill. Now many years later I don’t take anymore pills and very seldom do I have to use my inhaler. Today the doctors tell me that I am in real good shape for a person of my age. I consider the asthma to be a blessing in disguise.

A couple of years ago I ordered an ONKYO stereo receiver from Amazon to replace an old receiver that didn’t have HDMI hookups. I bought their middle of the line receiver but when it came it was their top of the line receiver. I was disappointed because I had already unpacked it and started to hook it up when I noticed the mistake. Now I was going to have to go through the hassle of boxing it up and sending it back. So I called Amazon and told them about the mistake. They said to keep the receiver and they didn’t want anymore money! So to me that was a blessing in disguise.

Three years ago Cleo and I watched as workers were putting in a padded playground floor at McKinley school across from our house. We looked at each other and raised our eyebrows as we recounted the pavement and gravel that made up our playgrounds when we grew up. We thought, “There are our tax dollars being wasted again.” But now with three little granddaughters who come over to visit and love to go to the playground; we realize that the padding was a blessing in disguise.

I got myself into some trouble when I was in the Air Force. It was on of the lowest times of my life. But when I look back on it I realize that it was a blessing in disguise because it was through that time that I yielded my life totally to Jesus and I have been living for him ever since!

I am sure you all have your own stories of blessings in disguise. I would like to hear some of them.

So as the people looked at the badly beaten, bloody body of Jesus hanging on the cross they didn’t realize that there was God dressed up as a blessing in disguise.

This is what the psalmist says about God > Psalm 18:11 (NLT) — 11 He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dark rain clouds.

You see even in the darkest of times, times when God doesn’t seem near, times when there is nothing to indicate that God even cares, you and I can rest assured that he is close by! His promise to us was that he would never leave us and he would never give up on us. Nothing can separate us from his love. Do we believe this and will we trust Him? To the Christian trouble is just a blessing in disguise. James knew this and that is why he wrote:

James 1:2–4 (NLT) — 2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Trouble is the food that faith feeds on. It is the way we grow spiritually. The Apostle Paul said that trouble works for us not against us.

Romans 5:3–5 (NLT) — 3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Now you may understand better why Paul also said:

1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NLT) — 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

So the next time things aren’t seemingly going your way, smile, pray, and thank God because you know that the situation is really a blessing in disguise!

Be Inspired Hilltop!