Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "What A Friend We Have In Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 5:3 – God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. (NLT)
At the age of 17, I began working my way through Bible school, cleaning toilets all over campus at 5 a.m. I was shy and seldom off campus, except to run children's programs in a nearby church. One day, I wrote a short note to a co-worker to say that I was unable to meet him the next day, and gave it to his roommate to deliver. Inexplicably, the roommate rewrote it, imitating my handwriting, using lewd and explicit language, to which he signed my name.
My co-worker had no doubt that anyone but me had written the note, which he took straight to the dean. Rather than talk to me, the dean convened a faculty meeting, recommending my expulsion. By grace, the secretary taking notes for the meeting was a good friend, who, horrified, told me what went on. While I was saved by one vote from being expelled, I was taken out of all graduation festivities. The class song that I had written was removed from the official record book. No one ever mentioned it to me or gave me any chance to explain.
I have only recently come to realize how much injustice there is. But everyone whose spiritual life has really spoken to me has had a difficult, often unfair person in their life, causing their faith in God to grow stronger, as their need was greater than their own strength could bear. Discovering a quotation, today's title, "Blessings come to those who notice", changed everything. Now, I automatically look for the blessings when an injustice occurs. Notice what Joseph said to his brothers:
Genesis 50:20 – But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (NKJV)
Most of the time, we automatically tend to count up resentments, rather than the blessings that we take for granted. When we count the blessings, there is no room any more for complaint, hate, anger, and particularly self-pity.
Prayer: Dear God of our lives, thank You for showering us with blessings often disguised as troubles. Thank You that today's pain is tomorrow's strength, and that even our noticing is evidence of Your help on the journey. Thank You for allowing us to recognize our own personal blessings, no matter how hidden they sometimes are. We are grateful for all the pages of Scripture that sing this truth home to our souls. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
P.S.: As I wrote this devotional, I knew that I had to email the one who had received the note. I had never spoken to him about it in the 57 years since it happened. He barely remembered the event that changed the entire direction of my young life, but because of writing, my note was graciously received and the incident over with, forever.