Blessings Go Bad

Blessings go bad. Certainly not all of them do this, but many blessings have a lifespan, an expiration date.

Or maybe it’s more true to say that we go bad. We cling to the blessing tightly enough to strangle it, fearing to trust that the lack addressed by this blessing has now been fully and finally answered.

A person saved from drowning does not have to keep wearing the life preserver on dry land. A person mended through surgery does not have to make a home in the hospital room, turning a place of recovery into a place of captivity.

God began the Ten Commandments with an introductory statement, a declaration of the kind of God he is. In the book, I call this the “zeroth commandment,” and I devote a chapter to exploring it. God announces himself as one who sets captives free. In his declaration, the freedom God cited to Moses and his people was freedom from a blessing.

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,” said God in Exodus 20:2. The Israelites had been in Egypt because God delivered them there to save them from a famine. The book of Genesis tells this story. Once fed, they could have left. Instead, they stayed—eventually becoming slaves.

How many of the burdens in our own lives are like this? How many are good things that have grown confining or wearying because their season has passed?

When Jesus healed an invalid, he told the man to carry the mat he had been laying on, but he also told the man to get up and walk (John 5:8). That is: Carry your gratitude with you and the memory of what God has done, but don't linger—move. Strike out upon the liberation God has provided.

Use the blessing. Build upon it, pass it on, leave it behind... and in this way, discover the full measure of that blessing’s value.