“When you’re walking closely with God, staying in His will, His blessings pour out as water through a hose. When you step away, the hose gets kinked. Some of the blessings still trickle through because of His great love for us, but a great deal of them are held back.”
A week ago, on a coffee date with a friend, (OK, we both had apple cider, YUMMMM, but anyway), she said those words to me. It reminded me of something beautiful I learned last fall from Beth Moore’s Breaking Free Bible study. I’ve held onto it ever since.
Beth Moore had us read Jeremiah 29:11-13. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Then Beth wrote this passage, which I have carried with me for the last year because it is both lovely and powerful:
I hope you noted that God is the One with the good plan! We don’t have a clue where the paths we choose will ultimately lead. Walking with God in the pursuit of daily obedience is the sure means of fulfilling each of His wonderful plans. Imagine in heaven God lovingly shows you His plan for your earthly life. You see footprints walking through each day. On many of the days, two sets of footprints appear. You inquire: “Father, are those my footprints every day, and is the second set of prints when You joined me?”
He answers, “No, my precious child. The consistent footprints are Mine. The second set of footprints are when you joined Me.”
“Where were You going, Father?”
“To the destiny I planned for you, hoping you’d follow.”
“But, Father, where are my footprints all those times?”
“Sometimes you went back to look at old resentments and habits. Sometimes, you departed from my path and chose your own instead. Other times, your footprints can be seen on another person’s path because you liked their plan better. At other times, you simply stopped because you would not let go of something you could not take with you.”
“But even if I didn’t walk with you every day, we ended up OK, didn’t we?”
He holds you close and smiles. “Yes, child, we ended up OK. But, you see, OK was never what I had in mind for you.”
“Father, what are those golden treasure boxes on certain days?”
“Blessings, My child, I had for you along the way. Those that are open are those you received. Those still closed were days you did not walk with Me.”
Do you love this?? I have experienced God’s little blessings countless times, but now when it happens, I love being able to call it a golden treasure box!
For sure, this does not mean everything in the life of someone walking with the Lord will work out painlessly and perfectly. That isn’t the promise at all. God promises us Himself along life’s way, little bits of comfort, joy, light and encouragement, right in the middle of difficult and broken situations. And if we are not holding closely to Him, walking in obedience, we will miss out on so many of His little pockets of goodness.
Some golden treasure boxes I have experienced are:
An encouraging word from a friend about the way I lead Bible study, right when I was having a moment of doubt and insecurity about it.
My son wanting to linger in my hug when I picked him up from outdoor school, like there was nowhere else he wanted to be at that moment, when just recently I’d been feeling sad that he was getting too shy to hug me in public.
When I was determined to forgive a friend for something, and kept praying about choosing forgiveness, God opened my eyes to all the ways this person was a good friend and not a terrible one.
After some challenging days at preschool, dealing with behavior challenges and potty accidents, hearing a parent say, “He feels so safe and loved at preschool. He is learning so much about God. Thank you for all you do.”
And then today.
First, let me be candid and give you a bit of history. Marriage is hard for me sometimes. Because it just takes work to constantly be aware of my husband, to keep him in mind amidst a thousand other responsibilities, to make sure I honor him at all times, even when he’s not around, even in my own thoughts. It takes work, OK? The enemy has tried to attack my marriage from different angles. This past year, every time I was irritated with Seth, I’d allow my mind to take satisfaction in the idea of not even having a husband. I’d angrily think, “If something ever happens to Seth, I’m never getting married again!” I liked just relishing the thought of being on my own with no one to complain about what I did or did not do.
But over time I realized two things: 1) It really does not help my general attitude towards my husband if I daydream about being single and being “free” of him. That makes me consider him a chore, a burden, and an inconvenience. I don’t think that’s healthy. He’s my friend. He’s my teammate. He’s my support system. The enemy wants me to just think he’s a big pain in the You-Know-What. It’s not true. I’m not going to allow those thoughts anymore! 2) If my number one goal in life is to bring glory to Jesus, do I think it helps me do that more with a husband or without one? I realized most likely for me, I am able to bring God more glory with a husband. It is refining and challenging and healing to have someone else so close in my business, calling me out when I am not my best, lifting me up when I fall, etc. I am a better person because I am part of a team. Plus, my husband and I are both serving God together. We talk about our ministries often, our love for God, and our dreams about seeing God work. Imagine if I had no one to talk to about those things?? I dare not take such a gift for granted.
So, I obeyed the Lord and curbed my selfish daydreams about ever being single. And today, as I was driving, I wondered, “If something ever does happen to Seth, would I ever get married again?” And instantly tears sprang to my eyes. I thought, “I would miss him so much!” I could not imagine my life without Seth.
And I suddenly realized, “That. That was a golden treasure box right there.” Because I worked hard to be sure I wasn’t thinking of him as a burden, God showed me that my heart has come back to needing Seth. I don’t just tolerate him, but instead I cannot imagine life without him.
You may not feel the depth of that blessing, but I do. Thank You, Lord, for golden treasure boxes! I always feel God telling me He sees me in those little moments. And He knows the things I have obediently done for Him, even when they weren’t easy to do.
Oh my goodness, if I could give you anything it would be closeness with Jesus. There is nothing better. Seek Him and experience His love and all the little golden treasure boxes along the way!