BLESSINGS IN DISGUISE
Vimal R. Ram
Our loving God, mighty in strength and wisdom, does great things for us, sometimes beyond our comprehension. Why? Because He loves us and has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son. And for this reason, He lets us go through trials and fiery afflictions to see where we stand in our faith. He also sits like a refiner and purifier, purifying us like gold in the furnace of afflictions, making us pure vessels, ready for His use upon this earth (Job 23:10; Mal.3:2-3; Ja.1:2-4). All these tests and trials are opportunities in disguise for special blessings.
The Lion And The Bear
Let us look at David, for example Ė a young lad in his teens with a ruddy, beautiful countenance, the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse, the keeper of the sheep, and a beautiful, skillful player of harp. I wonder how many psalms he composed, while keeping his fatherís sheep? He faced many trials during that time. There came a lion and a bear, and took a lamb from his flock. This was an opportunity, a blessing in disguise. What did David do? He did not hide or cry; he did not just stand there watching the lamb being taken away. He went after them, smote them and delivered his lamb from their mouths; and when they rose against him, he caught them by their beard, smote them and slew them. What blessings did he get? He became more strong and firm in his loving relationship with God, so much so that he was not afraid to fight Goliath, the Philistine giant. With one stone he overthrew him and beheaded him with his sword. If David had failed in these trials (opportunities), he would have never become a man after Godís own heart and, later, the king of Israel.
The Fiery Furnace
Then, there were those three men Ė Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego Ė who refused to fall down and worship the golden image made by the great king of Babylon. They boldly accepted the punishment of being thrown into the fiery furnace, heated seven times more, saying that even if their God did not deliver them from the fiery furnace, they will still not worship his idol. And we know what happened after that. The fourth Man, in the likeness of Godís Son, came down in that fiery furnace and saved them and made King Nebuchadnezzar realise the greatness of the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. The king promoted them and their God was glorified.
The Den Of Lions
Danielís example is also notable. Not regarding the decree of King Darius, promoted by some jealous colleagues, Daniel kept on praying to his God three times a day, as he always did, keeping the windows open. He was reported to the king at once and finally thrown into the den of lions. The king was sore displeased in doing so. Very early the next morning, he rushed to the den of lions and was exceedingly glad to find Daniel alive with no hurt on him. God was glorified and Daniel became stronger and closer to his God. The king also came to know Danielís God and honoured Him.
But those who fail the tests and trials reap the consequences. The Israelites, Godís chosen people, were tested many times on their way to Canaan, but failed miserably, resulting in their death. Only two of them Ė Joshua and Caleb Ė could reach the Promised Land along with the new generation.
Balaam was the man who saw the vision of the Almighty in a trance, with his eyes open. He foretold only those words which God put in his mouth for Israel, ignoring Balakís desire, and did not go beyond the commandment of the Lord. But later on, he taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before Israelites to eat sacrifices to idols and commit fornication; and Balaam was killed by the sword. Saul was anointed king over Israel, but when he disobeyed God, he was rejected by God. He died in a battle with the Philistines along with his sons, bringing a sad end to his kingship. Esau sold his birthright for a morsel of food and lost the greater blessing. Samson could not keep his sacred secret of being a Nazirite unto God for the love of a woman and lost everything. The Lord departed from him. The Philistines caught him, gouged out his eyes and threw him in prison.
So, let us be careful when trials and fiery afflictions come our way in the form of sickness, disappointments, financial crisis, unanswered prayers, wayward children and loved ones, and so on, and recognise them as Godís opportunities Ė blessings in disguise. Through Christ Jesus we can be more than conquerors in trials and afflictions. Tough times are Godís opportunities in disguise for His choicest blessings on us.