Friday, August 24, 2012

That good things are chasing us down

I remember the school science experiments I used to do with magnets and iron filings. These tiny bits of metal dust follow a magnet around, making it look like some sort of hairy critter. If iron filings had thoughts, resistance would be futile. There is no way one of them could possibly break from the crowd and say, "I don't think I'll follow the magnet today. I'm happy right where I am." I thought about these iron filings today when I read about the great blessings God has in store for His people.

For most of my life, I've had entirely the wrong idea about blessings. I've had a "blink and you'll miss them" sort of mentality. I was like a girl chasing butterflies with a net. Or if you're a fiction reader, they're like those cheeky little flying keys in the first Harry Potter book. Remember how Harry and his two friends faced the seemingly impossible challenge of racing around in a room amid thousands of tiny flying keys, trying to snatch the one which would open the door to the next chamber?

When I was a Primary School student, the teacher used to hide a few objects around the classroom and reward the two or three people who found them. While I was searching high and low, a few other voices would cry out, "I found one." My heart would sink because I'd missed out. This sort of scenario followed me into adulthood. Just a few years ago at a conference, I shifted from the spot I'd been sitting all morning, thinking that if my daughter, Emma, came through from her scrapbooking activity I'd be easier to find in the aisle. No sooner had I moved than a lady announced that five beautiful CDs had been hidden beneath random seats around the auditorium. You guessed it; the lady who'd been sitting for five seconds where I'd been for four hours gave a shout of joy.

Roald Dahl wrote about a similar situation in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." The golden tickets have all been found. Augustus, Veruca, Violet, Mike and Charlie are the lucky ones. You've missed out. That's how I unconsciously imagined blessings; glittery and scarce.

But Deuteronomy 28 tells me, "All these blessings will come and overtake you." Then it goes on to list every area in which we may expect to be blessed, including our offspring, our transport, our work, our provisions and our reputations. I think, Wow, that's a different way of looking at it. It requires a total change of mindset. I am traveling along the road, oblivious, and blessings are pursuing me. Instead of the desperately hopeful customer who goes into the deli, clutching my hot little coin, to buy a Wonka Bar, I am actually the golden ticket. Blessings are looking for me.

What a bizarre concept, but when I think about it, it's often turned out to be the case. When I've bothered to stop running for a while, blessings have perched on me like those birds in princess stories, taking me completely by surprise. Babies, houses, prizes, money, new friends. My first thought is, That hasn't happened very often, but then I have to admit that the occasions when it has happened coincide with the times I've paused to reflect and simply enjoy life. When I'm busy tearing around like those little winged keys, looking for blessings, little do I know I'm actually fleeing from them, making them harder to catch up with me.

Hmmm, interesting thought. I'm going to appreciate every good thing, large or small, treating it as one of those iron filings that can't help following me whenever it's anywhere near. I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with unexpected blessings.


  1. What a great analogy, Paula. I just love that. In our busyness it is so easy to miss all those blessings. Time to stop and smell the flowers, eh!

    By the way, I just checked out your new website. It looks fantastic! :)

  2. Yep. Loved this reminder. Thanks Paula. :)

  3. This reminded me of a story you told some time ago about the mother with the two sons, where one was an optimist and the other a pessimist. Do you remember?

    I agree with you. It's the pursuit of these blessings that brings us down. Living in gratitude helps remind us how many blessings we have in our lives. We need to rid ourselves of our opinions on how we should be blessed and focus on how we are blessed. I've taken up running now. I'm such a bad runner! I've had people walk past me, I'm so slow. But I try to remind myself what a blessing it is for me that I can run, because my asthma always prevented me from trying to exert myself like this.

    And of course, friends like you are such a blessing. :o)

    Peace and Laughter!

  4. I'm hearing you on this, Paula. It's so easy to get caught up with chasing dreams and miss the blessings around us. To stop and enjoy the love we have in our lives is a great blessing.
    When I was reading your post I also thought about the 'blessings in disguise'. These happen quite a bit too - where the Lord places or uses us in an unusual situation for His purpose. We don't see it at the time - but later realise it was in the plan.

  5. Yes, how amazing is it to think God pursues us with His blessings? I love that thought :)
    And I smiled to read about visits to the 'deli' with a fistful of coins. You reminded me of my Adelaide cousins, who laughed at me calling it the 'milk bar.' xx

  6. Paula, I was thinking similar thoughts recently but the Scripture that got me thinking was the verse in Psalm 23 "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life". I love that! They are actually coming after me, chasing me! God is so good.

  7. This is a great post Paula. I'm so glad you've fleshed this idea out - it's so true! We often forget that God WANTS to bless us - all we have to do is put our own agenda aside.

  8. For years, I've often said that God drops blessings in my lap, unexpectedly. Perhaps I should be more observant, so I'm not so surprised by His blessings. At least I usually remember to praise Him for what He's done! Enjoy your weekend! - Kate

  9. I agree wholeheartedly Paula
    More blessings to you!

  10. Thanks for all the kind comments, everyone. I really appreciate each and every one of you. During the week, the computer was doing funny things, preventing me from commenting on my own blog.


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