Blessed To Not Be Blessed

Winning the lottery is like throwing Miracle-Gro on your character defects
–Quote from a TV show on the lottery.

Sometimes we’re blessed to not be blessed.

What I mean by “not to be blessed” is not blessed in the way we think we should be.  Or the way we want to be.  God is so wise that sometimes he withholds blessings from us because he knows we couldn’t handle them.  That we’d forget him.  That we’d fall too much in love with this world.  That we’d ruin ourselves.  That it would throw Miracle-Gro on our character defects.

Psalm 84:11 says God doesn’t withhold blessing from his children:

No good thing does he withhold
from those who walk uprightly.

God withholds NO good thing from those he loves.  So if God does withhold something from us, we can know that it must not be a good thing for us.  We might think it would be a good thing, but we need to trust God’s wisdom.  He knows what we’re made of and what would tempt or ruin us.  He knows that winning American Idol wouldn’t be good for most of us.  Lots of money wouldn’t be a good thing for most of us.  Too much honor and adulation wouldn’t do most of us good either.  Agur, author of part of Proverbs says:

Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you
and say, “Who is the LORD?”
or lest I be poor and steal
and profane the name of my God.
(Proverbs 30:8-9)

I’ve got to admit, it’s hard to pray this prayer.  I can easily pray “Don’t give me poverty,” but I don’t add the second part, “or riches.”  Because I think riches would be good.  I want more than just needful food.  I want to feast on steak and cake and cookies.  Agur says it’s just as dangerous to be rich as it is to be poor.  He says if we’re poor we can be tempted to steal, which profanes God’s name.  But when we’re rich we can be tempted to deny God and say “Who is the Lord?”  If have everything, you can think you don’t need God.

Sometimes God uses sickness or poverty to “hem us in” – to keep us back from harmful things we’d pursue if we were healthy enough or rich enough.

If God isn’t pouring out on you the “good” we think you should have – whether it be wealth, a wife, a husband, a child, a job, a break, health, a home, whatever – it might be that if you had it, it might not be for your good.  God is out for your best, which is to know him, and be conformed to his likeness.  So seek to be content to have Christ alone.  If we have him we have the infinite riches of God.  We have all the good God can give us.  If God hasn’t given us something we’ve asked for, we can seek him for it, but then let us trust his wise providence.  He’ll give it to us if it’s really good for us.  He’ll withhold it if it’s not.

God will prune us.  He’ll cut off branches that don’t bear fruit.  But he won’t throw Miracle-Gro on the weeds in our hearts.

And that’s something to praise him for.

  • Briana

    Lawrence has long made that passage in Proverbs a life prayer for himself, from before we even met. SO, I will joke with him at times that it's his fault we don't have some of what we want. But, you are so right that NOT giving us all we want or ask for IS for our best and keeps us "hemmed" in. Boy, do I buck against the boundaries at times, but I'm grateful for the Holy Spirit that again and again reminds me that it's GOd's love for me that makes those boundary lines pleasant places. Thank you for this reminder once again.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thanks for your comments, Briana. Thanks for adding in that it's God's love for us that he gives us boundaries. That's the key to contentment – knowing God's love for us makes our boundary lines pleasant.

  • Guest

    Thank you. This is just what I needed to hear. I really feel the desire from deep in my heart to attend the Christian Counseling Educational Foundation conference but there is no way I could afford to go. I've racked my brain on way's my husband and I might be able to save up enough money to go. We have enough money to meet or basic needs but not extra income to afford the expenses of going to the conference. I've prayed long and hard about going. Like your article suggested it sounds like it's not for my good. So now I can stop wrestling with going and just accept with a sad heart that it's not what God wants for me.


    • Mark Altrogge

      Dear Guest, God is pleased that you want to go to the conference, and your prayers are pleasing to him, and your faith in him is pleasing to him as well. I believe he will even take your sad heart and fill it with his joy. I hope you have a sense of his love for you today!

  • Ajay

    This is very timely for me. I’ve been questioning in my heart why God doesn’t bless me like he does others, why he gives to others what he doesn’t give to me. I need the reminder that my view and God’s view of what is good are on opposite poles. Thanks for this:)

    • Mark Altrogge

      Thanks for your humility Ajay and your comments. you have really touched on the core of the issue – God’s view versus our view of things. And God knows how best to bless us.

  • Faith Heitger

    this is such a wonderful post–it's been about two years since God really impressed this verse on my heart as I was seeking His will for my life in regards to marriage.
    Now newly married, I am continuing to rely on this verse for the other blessings (children), that I desire, but also know will come in God's good timing, IF it is what is good for me. There is such peace and joy in resting in God's promises and knowing that He is ALWAYS faithful, He is ALWAYS loving, and He is ALWAYS good.
    thanks for the encouragement!

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  • David.

    Everyone talks about God knows what is best for us is true, but I just recently lost my wife of 18 months of marriage due to her heart attack while scuba diving. I am 54 years old and it was my first marriage when I was 52. Marla was a great blessing to me and I was fully faithful to her. Unfortunately her recent death stirred up my old sin I used to be involved 20 years ago. As a Christian, I do NOT want to pursue that old sin again. I used to be a regular customer of going to a brothel (whorehouse). I used to date prostitutes every week for about ten years way back in the 1990's. Now the problem is why God remove this great blessing of a wife I had for only 18 months and put me in this precarious and dangerous position of being single again after that sin has been already taken care of years ago!! What is He trying to do? Make me date a brothel prostitute again? I don't think so!!! Is that His best for me to suffer in that kind of temptation for no apparent reason since I DON'T WANT to date a whore again!