By: Danna Appleby
Blessings crown the head of the righteous . . . .
(Prov. 10:6 NKJV)
Many of us associate God’s richest blessings with wealth and prosperity. Throughout the years, I have given that idea much thought. Nowadays, I see that God’s blessings come in many forms.
When I was young, my parents prayed with us before we went to bed. I specifically recall Dad asking the Lord to “bless us.” At the time, I didn’t comprehend the meaning, but as I grew, I saw how our family needed God’s blessings to be upon us in order to make it from day to day.
Dad needed God’s blessings to be upon him in being the father he needed to be, with pastoring his church, for dealing with issues that weren’t always comfortable with his flock, with visiting the sick, hearing from God in order to encourage his congregation, for health issues, and his own personal walk with the Lord.
Mom needed God’s blessings to be upon her with carrying the load of being wife, mother, and pastor’s wife, being of assistance to my Dad in the ministry, and her own personal life.
God always came to the rescue and blessed our family in ways that we have never been able to forget. In fact, our family still talks about how God blessed us at specific times throughout the years. We remember when we had very little as far as material means, but know that it was by God’s grace and His alone that we received an outpouring of blessings.
When I look back at my parents’ years in ministry, I see how God blessed them and answered prayers for blessings, both financially and spiritually. We were not wealthy by worldly means, but God blessed us. In fact, everything we needed, God was faithful to supply. On top of everything, whatever we set our hands to do for the Lord, He blessed. When we came up with something to do for God, He blessed us and we then became a blessing to others.
Many years after my father passed and went on to Glory, I can still remember my step-father standing at his kitchen sink. As water came from the faucet, he said, “Thank the Lord for running water.” Artis knew a time when his family didn’t have the conveniences of today or even the luxury of a hot water heater. Artis was a thankful man and considered every convenience a blessing from the Lord, for surely it was.
In 2004, my husband and I were privileged to take a mission trip to Lima, Peru. During our two-week stay, our group of 18 did various ministry projects. We made a bus trip to the village of Ventilla, Peru, where we attended a church service. The sanctuary was not what you and I would consider finished because it had no windows, no restroom, and no roof. When my husband and I made our way up the crudely constructed concrete steps to the second floor, we saw the sky above us. It hadn’t rained in 50 years and that part of Peru was in a terrible drought so there was no fear of things becoming saturated. Even though the church appeared to be unfinished, those precious people stopped at nothing to go to the house of God to worship. The Holy Spirit was evident and we sensed His awesome Presence. We also felt God’s bounty of love among His people and we were blessed beyond measure. We went to be a blessing to the people, but they blessed us more than words can express.
I feel prompted to tell you about a tremendous blessing my husband and I received at the end of the trip. At midnight, weary and exhausted travelers stood outside a massive plane; we were going home. Our time in Lima was over and we were sad to leave our wonderful friends. My husband and I were at the end of the line as we waited to board. For no apparent reason, a flight attendant walked up to my husband and I and told us we had been upgraded to First Class! We could not believe our ears. We immediately followed the attendant and were seated in an area we’ve never been privileged to sit before or since. Once seated, we enjoyed a meal, a warm blanket, cozy slippers for our feet, a warm, wet washcloth for our face and hands, and other amenities for our utmost comfort. That night we slept like babies. What a blessing God sent our way! We knew it had to be God for there was no other way for any of this to occur if it had not been.
While I’m boasting about the Lord and His marvelous blessings, I have to tell you about another one that came when there was no way for it to be anything but God. I had been going through a tremendous trial in my life. I wondered if God had deserted me. Months went by and I could not sense God’s presence day nor night. I felt alone and rejected, but kept holding on to hope that God would help me. I couldn’t pray and felt like I was walking in a dark valley, but somehow clung to the promises I found in God’s Word.
One day I went to the hospital to visit a friend. I had gotten out of my car and was in the parking structure. As I walked toward the elevator, from a distance I noticed an elevator filled with people, but the door remained open. They were waiting for the door to close so they could go on to their destinations, but the door wouldn’t close. I finally made it to the elevator and the second I stepped in, the door closed. All of the people observed what had just taken place. A lady exclaimed, “Well I believe Someone’s surely watching over you!” She laughed, but down deep I knew it was true. God’s blessings were upon me and that all familiar “King’s Kid” feeling crept back over me. I knew that the hand of God was indeed upon me and felt His love all over me. Had an angel held the elevator door open just for me? Only God knows, but I believe so.
Another time, it was a Sunday morning and I was about to leave my house for an early praise team practice at the church. It was bitter cold and I was feeling exhausted. I had worked hard all week and needed God’s touch upon me so I committed my needs to Him. As I backed out of the garage, I happened to catch a glimpse at my little princess rose bush which stood by the door of the garage. I was taken aback by what seemed impossible for a winter’s day. At the top of the barren bush in plain sight was a lone pink princess rose. Did God place it there to bless me that morning? I believe so! Isn’t God the God of miracles and wonders? Had He not parted a sea so His chosen people could walk across on dry land? If He could do something that awesome, could He not place a tiny blossom on a bush just for His little girl? Oh, yes indeed! God handed me a rose to lift my spirits and His little one was delighted. How can I praise Him enough! I know there is no way I can.
My mother told me that my Dad used to remark to her that God did “cute little things.” I have to agree! And when those blessings occur, I just have to smile and realize that His Presence is there to show me His unending love.
God shows up to bless His children in ways just like the ones I mentioned, but how many times do we miss them? How many times do we take the blessings we have in our homes and workplaces for granted? How many times do we go about our daily tasks not realizing that God longs to be gracious to us? He longs to bless His children with good things. Perhaps situations occur all the time, but we overlook them as happenstance. We think, “No, that couldn’t be God.” Our Heavenly Father longs to reveal His loving nature by pouring out a blessing we cannot contain. Let’s be open from this day forward and look for ways that God is blessing us. Let’s begin to look for His very best and we will be blessed.
Until next time . . .
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon You, and be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.