I used to pray the way Bono says he did: In countless ways, big and small, I was always seeking the Lord’s blessing. I’d be saying, “Look, I’ve got a new song…Would you look out [for it]. I have a family; I’m going away on tour — please look after them. I have this crazy idea. Could I have a blessing on it?”
However, Bono continues, A number of years ago, I met a wise man who changed my life. This wise man asked me to stop. He said, “Stop asking God to bless what you’re doing. Get involved in what God is doing — because it’s already blessed.
Bono decided to get involved with the poor, because, as he says, “God is always with the poor.”
I believe all Christians are called to be a blessing to the poor–though some of us (I, for instance) may have other primary vocations and callings, and we may be called to bless the poor with our money, rather than with our sweat.
* * *
Like Bono, when casting about for what to throw my energy into, I try to see which area of my life God is already blessing. Where is his activity most evident? In my case, in my growing blog, in my presence on Twitter and other social media, and in our family business.
When we are aligned with Jesus, multiplication becomes the norm, just as Jesus fed five thousand with five loaves, and spiritually feeds millions with his broken body.
A supernatural increase which we couldn’t possibly have brought about through our own efforts: I see that as a hallmark of God’s blessing.
* * *
When we decided that Roy should resign from his career as a mathematician, at which he was successful, to manage our small publishing company, I saw a mental image of the river of God rushing and flowing into our family business. Going on in academia would almost be rowing against the stream.
And indeed, the little company has been blessed over our wildest expectations. In the beginning, when we were rushed off our feet, and hugely stressed as the company took off, Roy said wryly, “Well, you got more than you asked, or dreamed of asking!!”
I stared, a bit stunned. Yes, indeed I had. I always lingered over that verse, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, a bit sadly and not with a great deal of faith, almost as if these things were things that happened to someone else, but me, oh my imagination was so wild that God couldn’t possibly do immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine.
Seriously, I remember, aged 17, singing “The dream I have today my Lord is only a shadow of your dream for me,” and thinking “Nah, my dreams are so wild, how can that be…”
* * *
Immeasurably more than all I can ask or imagine…there is now a page with that title in my prayer journal, and I pray that, somewhat breathlessly.
It’s a good question to ask at the start of a New Year, with all that fresh energy. What is God blessing? Where is his presence and power most apparent?
For me, at the moment, in blogging and writing, and that shall be my year’s focus.
And so I cry out like Jabez:
Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. 1 Chron 4:10.