(This week’s devotions are based on Sunday’s message: Grace for All…Grace Upsets- LISTEN HERE)
Grace is upsetting when someone receives it that we don’t think deserves it.
Grace is also upsetting when WE don’t receive it when we think we deserve it.
I remember a member of a previous congregation who also delivered FedEx to our home. After not seeing him for a while at church I happened to be home when he delivered a package. As we briefly interacted he shared some of the life and relationship challenges he was going through and said, “I think God needs to throw me a bone. I don’t deserve all this.”
He was upset because he felt deserved a blessing of grace from God in his life and was upset that God, in his opinion and perspective, was withholding it.
Have you ever felt the same? We love when the Lord allows blessing to come in our lives. We love when life is without conflict. We love when finances are plentiful. We love when our health is great.
But when it goes away? We get upset. We get depressed. We get angry at God.
We wouldn’t be the first. The prophet Jonah, while upset that God had shown grace to Nineveh, he was hoping that God would change his mind and allow the judgment to come on Nineveh. So…
5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?”
“I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”
Jonah was happy when the Lord blessed him with the vine and upset when it was taken away. We don’t know Jonah’s thoughts exactly, but when the vine withered, he was upset. He was upset when the blessing was taken away…angry enough to die.
The blessing of the Lord is the grace of the Lord. These blessings, as we want to define them, are gifts from God. When and how he chooses to give them are his prerogative. While we think we deserve them, we don’t. While we think we have the right to dictate the blessings God should give us, we don’t.
The reality is that any blessing we receive is a gift of grace and even the situation God allows that we don’t like can be a way that the Lord gives us blessings.
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Admittedly it is hard to receive what God allows and see it as a blessing, when we don’t like or enjoy what is happening. But here’s the truth.
God will always give what is best for his children and this is a result of his grace.
We must repent of feeling we deserve God’s blessing and getting upset when the blessing we want is withheld.
Do we have any right to be angry about the vine?
Nope. We don’t.
Apply: When have you felt upset about God withdrawing or not giving a blessing? Afterwards did you see a blessing in what you received?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for all the blessings you give, even the ones I don’t always perceive as blessings. AMEN.