We May Receive a Blessing but God Receives the Glory
Updated: Jan 29
As Christians we are never promised a perfect life. In fact, Jesus shared with his disciples that being followers of The Way would be a hard journey. According to church tradition, all but one of his disciples would be put to death for preaching the gospel. Even though these men experienced a physical death, they were counted as righteous and were given an eternal life in the presence of almighty God through the forgiveness of Jesus.
Just like the Twelve, if we go all-in with Jesus, we will at some point experience hardship for what we believe, and for what we preach. There have been countless testimonies of missionaries taking the gospel to unreached people groups and being put to death for it. However, the truth they proclaim is remembered, and people continue to seek this truth and find it. The result is the blessing of people coming to salvation. Just like the Twelve, these missionaries experience physical pain and death, but are given eternal life in Christ. This is the greatest blessing of all.
You may hear people quoting Jerimiah 29:11, which says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” This verse is often quoted as a verse of comfort to the individual, but we must read this verse looking through the lense of ancient Israel. Even in the Old Testament, God was not saying that Israel would never have hard times, but in the end, through his sovereignty, he would prosper them. We have prosperity and a hope in our future only through Jesus. We will still experience persecution, pain, and death on the Earth because we still live in a fallen world, but because of Jesus, we receive the blessing and gift of eternal life with Him.
This week I was reading in Matthew 4:30-31. In this passage, Jesus is going through the city healing the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the sick. What amazing miracles! The blind could see their children’s faces, the deaf could hear the ripple of the water in the Jorden River, the lame could jump, and the sick became well, and their energy was restored. Peoples’ lives were forever changed! Jesus did it for two reasons. The first was to show us how much he loves us, and second was to show His power and deity. Matthew 15:31 says that others saw the great works he did and were in awe. It also says that they gave Glory to the God of Israel! The people who experienced the miracles of Jesus were truly blessed in a physical way, but at the same time, they were eternally blessed. Their eyes were opened to who Jesus was. Because of these miracles, the teachings of Jesus continued to spread like wildfire. People were added to his following, and after he died and rose again, they became part of the first-century church. Some people scoffed, but all those who believed received the greatest blessing, and will glorify God forever.
Miracles still happen today, but God seldom uses drastic events to show his power in the same way he did during his ministry. In his book Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby says that “God speaks to us through the Holy Spirit. He uses the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church (other believers).”
He uses healing, hardship, and persecution, all for his glory. God does not cause bad things happen to his people, but because we live in a fallen world, bad things exist. Disease, blindness, deafness, infertility, poverty, and so much more were caused by the sin of Man. When a believer handles these situations with a heart of righteousness, God is glorified in it. The way we respond to hardship points people to the One who sustains us and brings us peace. The fact is, sometimes God heals or gives us abundance on Earth, and sometimes he doesn’t, but He will never leave us alone. God gives us exactly what we need. He works in our lives to set us on a course for eternity when we can only see the temporal. He allows the circumstances that will give Him the most Glory. As the old worship song says of God, “You give and take away, but my heart will choose to say, blessed be Your name.”