We were standing in line at the post office on a balmy, early spring day when I opened a conversation with the man in front of me commenting on how fast the line was moving, somewhat of a minor miracle. “Yes, he agreed, “there are three working at the counter today and that makes a difference.”
Now that we were off to a positive start, I added a comment about the nice weather, hoping it might lead to talking about the goodness of God to us.
“It’s a beautiful day!” he replied, “But I dread what’s ahead.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, just as he reached the front of the line.
“We’re going to pay for this!” he exclaimed, turning to answer my question as he headed to the counter to do his mailing.
“I don’t believe that!” I called, probably causing everyone in line behind me and all the postal workers to wonder what had prompted my loud declaration of unbelief.
What about my postal partner’s pessimistic view that sunshine must always be followed by clouds and storms? Does God have us on a weather tether that demands our being jerked back to cold reality after every pleasant day?
Not at all!
Certainly clouds and even storms come along from time to time, but their presence shouldn’t be interpreted as paybacks for blessings we’ve received.
God is good and He loves us ... but this doesn’t mean we’ll be kept from all storms.
On the contrary, our Lord warned His disciples that trouble is a part of life (John 16:33) but tough times are not to be seen as periods of punishment for blessings received.
Consider the experience of the disciples of Jesus during a fierce storm on the Sea of Galilee. Strong winds piled waves high and it appeared they were in danger of going down. (Matt. 8)
J.C. Ryle, a noted 19th-century writer, described this panic point in the lives of these men as follows: “Here are the chosen disciples of the Lord Jesus in great anxiety. Perhaps they had expected Christ’s service would lift them above the reach of earthly trials. Perhaps they had supposed He would always grant them smooth journeys, fine weather, an easy course and freedom from trouble and care. If the disciples thought so, they were much mistaken.”
There was, however, a purpose in this time of peril for those enduring it. The storm and its miraculous end increased the faith of the disciples, enabling them to build the faith of others. And there is no evidence that the storm came because they had enjoyed smooth seas, quiet breezes and sunshine the day before it arrived.
When John Haggai was 24 and the pastor of his first church, he suffered a nervous breakdown. In his book, How to Win Over Worry, he writes that one of his keys to recovery was in learning to seize each day and enjoy it, but it’s tough to appreciate good things while thinking God may require payment for them later.
Reject such negative thinking.
The blessings God sends today won’t require the sky to fall tomorrow.
Roger Campbell was an author, broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years. An anthology containing over one hundred of his best columns, “Everywhere You Go There’s a Zacchaeus Up a Tree,” is now available at your local or online bookseller. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Facebook at yourfaithadventure.