God never promised us a rose garden. At least, not in this life. He did give us a perfect garden once, and we—that is, our distant grandparents Adam and Eve—messed it up. Now we must live with that mess. But God promises that if we will deal with that mess in his way and, by his grace, contend with the weeds and thorns and rust and rot, he will bless us. Not necessarily by taking all the problems away, but by shaping us into his image as we press through those problems. Even as we walk through the greatest hardships of life, we have the assurance that God will eventually lead us to that new and perfect garden we long for after we finish our term here. Jesus himself made the promise: "I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:2-3 NASB).
This promise of perfection in the future does not mean God has no blessings for us here and now. Not by a long shot! In fact, God promises that if we uphold his truth and walk in his ways, he will give us not only that new garden in the future, but also real joy in this life now (John 10:10). What we need to learn, however, is that joy is not dependent on getting every desire met—that is, not those desires that infect us from the virus of today's me-culture.
Real joy comes when we get the right desire met—the desire for God himself, for a life led by the Spirit, fulfilling not our material desires but our deepest need, which is to be in a close relationship with our Creator. That is the source of true blessing. The only source.
Friday, January 21, 2011
From A Simple Blessing: The Extraordinary Power of an Ordinary Prayer by Michael W. Smith with Tom Williams (from Chapter One):