|Most Richly Blessed|
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:3-6
The first line of each two line stanza reveals the soldier’s request and his reason for asking: he wants strength to achieve, health to do great things, riches to make him happy, power so men will praise him, and “all things” so he might enjoy life.
The second line in each stanza, however, indicates how God gave him the opposite of what he asked for: he was made weak so he would learn humility and obedience; he was made sick so he could do “better things”; he was made poor so he could gain wisdom; and he was made powerless so he would feel his need for God. Finally, while the soldier wanted “all things” so he could enjoy life, he realizes that God has given him life so he might “enjoy all things.” At the close of his spiritual journey, the soldier records what he has learned: even though he had received “nothing that [he] asked for," he had gained "everything [he] had hoped for.” Because his "unspoken prayers" were answered, he could describe himself as one “most richly blessed.”
Christians, by contrast, need to grasp the Bible's recipe for the blessed, joy-filled life. Here are just a few principles that can lead us to the abundant life which Christ promised is our inheritance (John 10:10):
At one time or another, we have all been guilty of asking God for things we think we need, yet our petitions are shallow and reflect the world's thinking, not His. Thankfully, the Lord has made provision for our inability to pray as we ought.
If in our hearts we are truly seeking His kingdom and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), the Holy Spirit takes our foolish petitions and transforms them, bringing them into alignment with the Father's will (Romans 8:26-27). Then, like the Confederate soldier, regardless of the answers God sends, we soon discover that we have everything we hoped for and that we too are most richly blessed.
To discover the sufficiency of Christ for all our needs, order John MacArthur’s book, Our Sufficiency in Christ, from our online store. You might also like to read, “Consider Christ in Affliction,” by Joel Beeke.