Blessings and challenges and blessed challenges

You mean people DON’T usually have three grandbabies within four months (best…year…EVER!), travel across the country a few times, have a son get married, sell the house in less that 24 hours, move into a friend’s basement until the temporary apartment is ready, build a downsize-of-a-home, and then also throw in two book releases, four book deadlines and some TV stuff? All in the same year? The very same year? What would you think if I told you this is just a PARTIAL list of some of the haps here?

If I were smarter, pretty sure I’d be much more freaked out than I am.

The truth is, although there is a bit of upheaval in many parts of that list, every part is blessing. Isn’t it funny that blessings can sometimes challenge us? Like, really, crazy challenge us? God’s leading of the Israelite people, for instance. Their journey into the Promised Land was anything but challenge-free. Granted, some of that was a result of their sin. But I think some of those challenges were simply what they needed to build spiritual muscle. Faith and fortitude. Even when they finally got to cross into that amazing space, they still had to take possession of it. There were battles. There was work. There were difficulties and trials even amidst all the blessed snacks of milk and honey. But I don’t doubt for a second there was great joy in that Promised Land–even in the challenges of possessing it. That land held a new beginning full of adventure for them. A future.

As God was giving Joshua the charge to step into that land, he commanded him, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The key to joy and success in every challenge–and yes, in every blessing–is the presence of God. Success might not even look like what we thought it would. And it’s surprising how little we stress about that when we’re leaning into His presence. Jesus, our Promise fulfilled.

Ya know, just thinking about that gives me courage. So much courage I think maybe I can talk about the rest of that partial list. But a little later.