“But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’” Jeremiah 7:23.
I have believed this my whole life. I still believe this, only I believe it a little differently now than I used to believe. The prophet Jeremiah basically says, “If you’ll just walk in the ways of the Lord, then all will be well and blessed.”
The irony is that Jeremiah is known as the “weeping prophet of God.” Why would a prophet of God, known for his faith, also be known for his weeping? I realize now that for many years, I have been mistaking the idea of “being blessed” to mean that life will be easy, smooth, and that the way will always be paved.
I am not sure where that belief of mine came from but it is certainly not biblical. It’s virtually impossible to read any Bible story and think of circumstances being easy, smooth, and well paved. Just like many Christians and Bible characters, you may be striving to walk in the ways of the Lord and are finding things to be challenging. This doesn’t mean you are out of the way. It might simply mean that “easy” isn’t always part of walking with God, and “easy” isn’t the same as being blessed.
Instead, this walk of faith is sometimes more like a holy tug of war, or a wrestling match between good and evil. I have been studying lately the life and times of the Apostle Paul. If anyone could demonstrate how difficult walking with the Lord was, this is the guy. As he walked with God, led by the Holy Spirit, he was run out of at least eight different towns, stoned, mocked, ridiculed, imprisoned, beaten and attacked by several angry mobs (not to mention shipwrecked and snake-bit).
Yet, despite each of those difficult encounters he continued to praise the Lord. He continued to preach the gospel. As I looked into this hero of the New Testament, I rediscovered the idea that being blessed doesn’t always mean “easy, smooth and well paved.” Instead, sometimes being blessed feels more like the comforting assurance of knowing God is with you in the struggle.
Also, being blessed is more like having peace in your heart despite the circumstances surrounding you. Or perhaps it’s having a purpose for your life, and a cause. Or maybe it’s all of those things wrapped up together in one blessed package. The more time I spend studying the Bible, the more I grow. I encourage you to spend time in the Word today and to reflect on how your understandings have developed over time. Maybe Philippians 4:11-13 would be a great place to start.