I read somewhere in my bouncing around the internets that there is a marginal annoyance that exists against people who overuse the hashtag #blessed. As in, “Having a fabulous time watching the sunset in Cabo with my hubby! #blessed” or some other jealousy-inducing description of how idyllic and perfect someone’s job/family/home/situation is.
Because, if you’ve had a facebook account for more than five minutes, you know that people generally don’t post about their excitement over their just-potty-trained four and a half year old, photos of the birthday cake they just made along with the sink full of dirty dishes next to it, or photos of their newly-decorated Christmas tree in a living room that’s been run through by a passel of elementary school children. There’s a general dearth of “reality” on social media. Of course, everybody has a couple token Debbie Downers on their friends list who thrive on posting their latest drama, but by now, there’s generally an understanding that continually posting one’s drama and dirty laundry all the time is bad form.
So, thinking on the idea of that hashtag and people and their silly tendencies to manipulate how they present themselves, and what on earth “blessed” really means, …and probably because it’s time for the End of the Year Philosophical Deep Thoughts Post, the book of Job came to mind; or, specifically, “what if Job had a facebook account?”
“Just lost my wife, my children, and my home. #blessed”
Seriously? I mean, we have the nice little saying “God is good all the time,” but it’s one that’s often said to fill that awkward silence when we just heard bad news and are grasping for something to comfort ourselves over the situation. We say it because we want to believe it. We might know it intellectually as Truth, but it doesn’t touch our experience. Was that what was in Job’s heart as he confessed, “Though he slay me, I will hope in Him”? –And, remember, he had not only himself to convince, but his friends as well.
And I thought about a couple posts I made at the end of our rough times a few years ago. Blessed? In retrospect, of course. We survived. In all that circumstantial difficulty, we never lost any loved ones. We remained healthy. We never went hungry or had an unpaid bill. God provided. We were blessed.
And now, I sit here in a miracle house –one with our name on the mortgage. I’ve been able to remain at home and make my work here at home without having to seek outside employment. Sam is fulfilled and happy at his job and God has provided abundantly for us financially. Our kids have enjoyed a great school and a good education. We are healthy. We have found a church where we feel at home to worship and to serve. I’ve had a lot of obvious reasons to proclaim my status as #blessed this year.
During those rough years, I wrote out this verse and taped it on my kitchen cabinet door, as a reminder.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain,for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” I Tim. 6:6-8
Now I feel this is more appropriate:
“…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:11b-13
I acknowledge that God is my provider, and no matter what he provides for us, no matter how it compares to those shiny, happy photos on facebook or the more jarring ones I see on the CNN website, we’re always #blessed, no matter what tomorrow (or next year) might bring. And believe it or not (…I believe, Lord, help Thou my unbelief), that’s the Truth. We can know that God works everything out for our good because we are His beloved, and called by His purposes, when we recount our days with joy and gratefulness, and even when those words of thanks and hope get stuck in our throat.