Has anyone ever replied: “I’m so blessed that I’m miserable”? That would be my reply if you asked me that question today—and for the past few months. I’m adjusting to the new world of blessing in which the Lord has placed me.
How can blessings make us miserable, you ask? Because too much of anything isn’t a good thing.
When King David said in Psalm 23:5, “…my cup overflows,” he meant it as a good thing, right? I can guarantee that David never cleaned up the mess of an overflowing cup! As a shepherd or a king.
Asking For Blessing
Please don’t misunderstand. Blessings aren’t bad. And God encourages us to ask Him for our heart’s desire (Mt. 7:7). He wants to give good gifts to His children (Jms 1:17).
So, when I asked the Lord for a publishing contract on the biblical novel I believed He inspired me to write, He graciously answered that prayer in 2008. A second contract was signed, and my simple hope to share one story had blossomed into a love for sharing His Word through multiple novels. Without realizing it, my dream became a calling and a ministry. It was and is a tremendous blessing.
Longing for the Past
I’ve gotta be straight with you. When book sales increased, family time decreased. Both daughters and their hubbies lived closed, but we saw them only on Sundays because of my added workload. Our grand-daughters were with us only in the summer and every-other-weekend, but then our oldest daughter had her first baby. When I was writing, I wished I was with my family. When I was with my family, I thought of all the deadlines that waited in my office. I longed for the simpler days before I was published.
Like the Israelites
We all remember some things from our past with fondness, but the Israelites crossed the line. Their memories exaggerated the truth because the present didn’t meet their expectations.
“In the desert the whole community grumbled…‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted.’” Exodus 16:2-3
When people say, “Hindsight is 20/20,” they must be standing in a sunny meadow with all their needs met–because when you’re standing in a desert, dying of hunger and thirst, your past looks rosey no matter what color it was.
God hears the yearning of our hearts, spoken or unspoken and responds with according to our need. The Israelites needed proof and revelation:
“So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, ‘In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt, and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him’…That evening quail came and covered the camp…” and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor…Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.’” Exodus 16:8,13-15
Quail and Manna
Beth Moore’s study, A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place, emphasizes what a delicacy quail was to the Egyptians. Twice a year flocks of quail flew across Egypt, and Egyptian tomb paintings depict strong winds driving the poor birds into their captors’ hands! Only a God who directed the birds over Egypt could free his people and then direct the same birds over the Wilderness. I love that!
And the MANNA! The Israelites saw His glory through simple, pure, white…flakes after the dew. The bread of angels (Psa. 78:25). Food directly from heaven for human consumption.
A lovely scene isn’t it? Quail when they asked. Manna promised each morning. But human nature is discontent. We know that because we know ourselves.
The Hard Stuff
When my family watched a movie, I didn’t want to be sequestered in my office, working on deadline. Free time—what’s free time? Do you have any idea how much it cost to kennel a dog while we were gone 3-4 weeks each summer? I wanted to be the fun grandma, the cool grandma—wanted my grandbabies to burst through the door at any moment and say, “Gaga, we’re here again!”
Those statements may seem disjointed to you, but they were planted in my mind and began rooting in my heart as bitterness toward my calling.
How about you? Are you beginning to resent something or someone for the time it/they require? You may love him/her deeply. Appreciate the opportunity you’ve been given. But feel burdened by the blessing that’s been plopped in your lap. It’s all a part of the inexplicable blessings of a miraculous God! Perhaps you, like me, are simply blessed too much!
I’m learning the difficult lesson that it’s not wrong to feel the initial sting of the burden. It’s how we live with Too Much Blessing that determines God’s pleasure–or His discipline.
Israelites Kept Grousing
Two years later (almost to the day), the Israelites were still grumbling (Num. 11:4-6). And Yahweh tells Moses how to respond:
“The Lord heard you when you wailed, ‘If only we had meat to eat! We were better off in Egypt!’ Now the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat it. You will not eat it for just one day, or two days, or five, ten or twenty days, but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’” Numbers 11:18-20
Eeee-gad! And, sure enough, Numbers 11:31 says God sent a flock of quail “2 cubits deep a day’s journey in any direction,” which, according to my Logos Bible Software, is about one TRILLION quail.
That’s a lot of quail.
Back in Egypt, quail was a delicacy—a blessing—but too much blessing can also be a form of God’s discipline.
Righteous Yearnings or Grumbling?
I’m sitting now in an empty, quiet house. The daughters, sons-in-love, and grandkids have been blessed abundantly. Job promotions moved one set of kids 750 miles away, and the other 1,300 miles away. My precious Rotti-pitbull died a couple weeks ago. Hubby also got a promotion that requires seventy hours a week instead of forty. All those who vied for my writing time are happy and healthy, busy with fulfilling lives of their own. (Except for Bouzer, who I hope is in doggy heaven–no biblical evidence either way.)
I look at the stillness as my first dose of quail and manna. I can accept it as a delicacy, a glorious revelation of God’s provision for this busy season of my life. Or I can grumble about the precious time I’m losing with my family far away, the loneliness. My choice.
I will quit grumbling…with Your help. I will set my heart and mind on You, my Deliverer, my Beloved, my Everything. You are enough. I will follow You wherever You lead, enamored by Your glory. I am thankful for all I DO have and refuse to be distracted by what I DON’T have. I praise You for Your goodness, Your mercy, Your grace–for the privilege of Your calling and the thrill and satisfaction it brings to my heart. What a grand and glorious Creator You are to have formed me in such a way.
“These things happened to [the Israelites] as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:11-13
I’d never realized the context of 1 Cor. 10:13, but now I can paraphrase: God won’t bless us beyond what we can bear. I pray you are blessed today, dear one—but not too much. 😉
- Memories exaggerate the truth when circumstances fall short of expectations.
- God responds to us in accord with our response to His blessings.
- Abundant blessing can be a form of discipline from a loving God.
- Are there blessings in your life that have become burdens? Is it discipline or an opportunity to experience a delicacy in the Wilderness?