In our comparison-driven culture, it’s sometimes tempting to think that God is pouring out His blessings on everyone but us.
We don’t know the whole story of other people’s lives, of course, or what it has cost them to be where they are and have what they have. But logic like that can often be overpowered by our own God-given longings and desires.
Back when Randy and I were struggling to conceive, for example, it was hard to hear people gush about how God had blessed them with children, or how their kids were the greatest gifts God had ever given them.
I agree that children are wonderful blessings; if they were not, infertility wouldn’t be nearly as hard as it is. But back then—before God knit our family together with our two lovely daughters from China—talk like this frustrated me.
It seemed to imply—at least to my own hurting heart—that people without children (married or not) are somehow missing out on the ultimate blessing in life, and I just didn’t think that was true.
I was painfully aware of the scripture passage that talked about children being a heritage from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5). But I also knew there were plenty of other verses in the Bible (especially Psalms and Proverbs) that delineate other reasons for blessing, nearly all of which have to do with a person’s heart and relationship to God and others.
I set out to make myself a list of these verses, and I hope what I found encourages your possibly weary soul today.
We are blessed when we:
• Refrain from walking in the “counsel of the wicked” or standing “in the way of sinners” or sitting “in the seat of mockers” (Psalm 1:1).
• Delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it around the clock (Psalm 1:2).
• Take refuge in the Lord (Psalm 34:8).
• Make the Lord our trust (Psalm 40:4).
• Have regard for the weak (Psalm 41:1).
• Learn to acclaim the Lord and walk in His presence (Psalm 89:15).
• Seek Him with all our heart (Psalm 119:2).
• Maintain justice and “constantly do what is right” (Psalm 106:3).
That’s plenty, but there’s more. We also are blessed when we:
• Are kind to the needy (Proverbs 14:21).
• Are generous to the poor (Proverbs 22:9).
• Are faithful (Proverbs 28:20).
• Honor the Sabbath (Isaiah 56:3).
• Are disciplined by God (Psalm 94:12).
• Find wisdom (Proverbs 3:13).
• Serve others (John 13:11-17).
• Fear the Lord continually (Proverbs 28:14).
• Read the book of Revelation and take its message to heart (Revelation 1:3-4).
• Actively watch for the return of Jesus Christ (Revelation 16:14-15).
The New Testament also reveals that great blessing often flows out of suffering and pain. Matthew 5:3-12 makes a convincing case for this:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Absorbing all that reminds me of another biblical blessing that has nothing to do with material possessions or family status and everything to do with trusting God in the midst of suffering: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).
The blessings just don’t get any better than that.
Note: Parts of this post were adapted from my book Infertility: Finding God’s Peace in the Journey (Harvest House, 2003), available here.