Malankara World

Blessings & Difficulties

by Dr. Bindu Scaria, IRS

In the world we live in today, it is very easy to get so incredibly caught up in all of the demands that culture places on us that we don't have any time to spend with God.

However, the fact that so many things compete for every person's time isn't new to the world. Indeed, in Luke 10:38-42, we see the story of how two people responded to this same problem in two very different ways: As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. ...

We see that after Jesus entered the home, He evidently started teaching, and Mary, Martha's sister, stopped what she was doing and listened to Jesus. It's important to realize that Mary didn't know Jesus was coming, and so it certainly wasn't her plan to stop what she was doing and sit at His feet, listening to Him. However, Mary considered hearing from God so important that she altered her schedule to spend time with God.

... But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Here, we see that Martha responded very differently than her sister: she became really busy and caught up in what she was doing -- probably preparing a meal, cleaning the house, or something similar.

When Martha complained to Jesus about how Mary was using her time, Jesus responded: "Martha, Martha, ... you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

One sister was willing to drop everything in order to hear from God; the other was too busy with everyday life in order to spend time with God. Jesus makes it clear that the way Mary chose to use her time was better.

In your life, you need to be willing to use your time like Mary did. Don't let little things steal your time away from what's really important in life. You must realize that there is no lasting value to the "urgent" things many people often allow to interfere with what's truly important. It would not have mattered if Martha hadn't cleaned the house that day.

You need to be willing to let your schedule be altered if knowing God better requires it. Don't be like Martha and get so caught up in life's distractions that you miss Jesus.

You need both blessings and difficulties, because one without the other is neither.

People who live in affluence for all of life (such as many people in North America and Western Europe) can easily become so accustomed to wealth, blessings, and prosperity that they can easily forget what blessings they actually have. However, if those possessions are taken away, those people will certainly look at life with a new perspective, realizing how much they really had.

You don't realize how much you have until you don't have it anymore.

God knows the importance of balance; that is, the importance of having both blessings and difficulties. There are several scriptures that speak about this balance. For example in 1 Peter 4:13, we are told: Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. Notice how we participate both in suffering and in joy.

Similarly, in 2 Corinthians 1:7, Paul wrote this to the church in Corinth: And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. They experienced both suffering and comfort.

Don't become too comfortable with what you have, because when you forget that the things you have are a blessing from God and when you start to assume that they are guaranteed possessions, it is quite possible that God will take them away from you in order to teach you that you need both blessings and difficulties, because one without the other is neither.

See Also: Can You Run and Hide from God? Lessons from Jonah and Ninevah.

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