Have you ever, in a place of hardship, looked at another and envied or coveted their lack of trials or good health? It is easy to do as if this type of coveting somehow belonged in a separate category than the usual ten commandment list of, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, wife, servants, ox, or donkey” (Exodus 20:17). Yet this verse catches us when it continues with “nor anything that is your neighbor’s” which would include your neighbor’s health and trial free life. So yes, coveting your neighbors’ lack of trials is still a sin that needs to be repented of. But, questions can remain like, “How can God lavish blessings on some and seem to overlook others, giving them hard things in their place?” Or “Why does He heal one person and not another, or give one person success yet another is hampered from reaching that potential due to illness or hardship?”
Whenever we have seemingly unanswered questions, it always helps to go back to what you do know. In Romans 8:28 and 8:31, it states that God is for us and not against us, that He works all things together for good for His children. Why? Because He is good.
“The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Psalm 145:9).
When He blesses people, it is something that comes directly from His hand, and with it He intends to work good that is meant to further His purposes and kingdom, for His glory. These blessings are to be received with gratitude and thanksgiving by all whether they are given to you or your brother because they come from the same Father and are meant for good overall. And with the type of Father, we have one who “crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:4), these blessings don’t end up resting on just one person. They spill out, affecting others in their wake. With these blessings taken as a whole, all that God gives and does works towards advancing His kingdom, using these very different means to do it.
Yet, it is still tempting to envy what another has, especially where it counts the most. So, let’s look at envy to understand it. To feel envy at another’s blessing is like saying, God’s favor and love is elitist and comes only in small increments, to special people, while overlooking others. It is accusing God of being very stingy with His love. It is like saying there is not enough of God’s love to go around, and if one person gets it through blessing, then another will get less. Working this out further, a person could then try to fend for himself by either grabbing all he can or trying to at least undermine and take away what the other has. But this premise is destructive and is not a true view of God.
Since blessings come in very different forms, you can have a blessing through a hardship as well. It is not that God has overlooked you and loves you less by giving you this hardship, but that God loves you so much that he has chosen you for this great task of trusting Him with this very hard thing, that He has meant to use to glorify His name. He did this for a specific reason, and knows that you can handle it with His help. And He will use it just as well or even more than the positive blessings He gives to advance His kingdom. The idea is that His kingdom is moving forward and your trial is a very integral part of it. The goal is for God to be glorified and His purposes advanced, and with that all are blessed in the process.
If we were chosen for the one or for the other, or even a combination of both, let that rest in God’s hands alone. His love is real and His presence constant and He will use all His means to accomplish His purposes. If we focus on the goal of His glory and kingdom, and what is to come instead of the problem at hand, we can rejoice where we are knowing that our lives are part of the process. We can also rejoice when another gets some real good that we were denied, because we know that this earth is not our home, and He is using all these means to prepare us for an eternity with Him. So, rejoice when you are chosen for a hard blessing, for it is meant to bless not only you but all His children as you handle it by learning faith and accessing His strength, and thus giving courage to all who are watching.
“He has put a new song in my mouth -praise to our God; many will see it and fear and will trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3).
If you squander that hard blessing by complaining, resisting and not getting a return on it, then you will not have received a blessing from it nor helped others as well. And as far as there being only limited amount of love to go around from God, that is a falsehood that needs to be denied by the way we think and live. Stand on what is true:
“For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:11-13).
His love goes to this extent for us:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
So, with the good blessings and the hard, rejoice, because God is doing something great with them. He has the end in sight and His glory in mind. And if you are having trouble counting your blessings due to a current difficult situation, read Psalm 103 for all the many ways He has already truly blessed you where it really counts in that abundant way of His.
In verse 2 it says to “forget not all His benefits.” Even in the worst of times, there are too many blessings to even count. Remember them.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
-Who forgives all your iniquities,
-Who heals all your diseases,
-Who redeems your life from destruction,
-Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
-Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:1-5).