The Curious Connection Between Blessing And Struggle

Welcome to St Augustine’s! It is terrific to be able to get together under the word of God each week. My prayer is that God will give us each strength and wisdom, as well as challenge us gently, conforming us to the likeness of his Son Jesus.

What will 2018 bring for you and your family? Are you praying for God’s blessing?

Each year brings its share of ups and downs, and as John Warner taught 2 weeks ago from Ecclesiastes 3, this is because of the sovereignty of God over all our “times”, our comings and goings. And so as we face 2018, are we asking him to help us?

We use the term “bless” or “blessing” quite a bit in the church, and it is a wonderful term that describes the goodness God shares with his creation in the circumstances of life. I’m prompted yet again to ask God to bless us this year.

However, blessing does not mean easy. I was reminded this week that when God is busy at work in his church, it usually involves pruning. When we apply ourselves to the plants in our gardens, both the hose and the secateurs are required! And so perhaps there are pains we must experience if we are to allow God to be at work in us…

Perhaps there will be personal struggles, health struggles, relational struggles, belief struggles or integrity struggles. Far from being indicators of the absence of God from our lives, they will remind us that for God to work good out of the complex circumstances of our lives, sometimes he needs to get our attention.

The humdrum of day-to-day survival tends to blinker us, even blind us. But pain and struggle actually drive us to our knees in humble prayer. They challenge us to let go of things in our lives that we hold to more dearly than we hold to God. And they challenge us to believe in the infinite power and goodness of the One who created us and has redeemed us, including us in his Kingdom.

So once again I say let’s pray. Let’s ask God for his blessing, knowing that this will probably mean we need to pray our way through the circumstance of the year ahead. We will have things we need to repent of… Lord, show us! We will have things we need to rethink… Lord, show us! Let’s invite God to oversee the agendas, plans and aspirations of our lives in 2018!

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