A lot of thoughts have been swirling and twirling around in my mind lately. And they are thoughts that have created fear in me. And that is not pretty, and is not from God. One reason some of these thoughts have been joining my mental conversations is that some friends of mine lost their child just a few weeks ago — their four month old little boy. When you have a little one yourself, the stark and sudden reality that your little one could be here today and gone tomorrow — or anyone you love could be — can do a lot of different things in your soul. You can trust that God will take care of you and your family, but when you see what on the surface appears to be Him not taking care of friends of yours who also love Him, you might begin to think, “Well, there’s no reason that would happen to them and not to me.” And that is a scary thought.

I don’t think I realised what this thinking had begun to do in my mind until today. I’ve been praying for the family who lost their child, thanking the Lord for my family, and trying to do a better job of enjoying life each day, remembering we aren’t promised tomorrow. But today I was reading in the Bible, and came across Proverbs 10:22. The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it. As I pondered this verse I began to think…gosh, I am struggling to actually believe this. In my mind I am disagreeing with it. Where has that come from? I realised it had something to do with the loss my friends experienced. I prayed, “Help me understand, Lord. In light of my friends and the loss of their son.”  And these are the thoughts that came next.

Loss and death come because we are in a fallen world. God’s blessing brings prosperity to our lives — and true richness, which is richness to our souls. He does not bring death or sorrow to the righteous. Death and sorrow are a consequence of life in a fallen, broken world. This was not God’s intention, He did not create the world to be this way, but He can still bring even these difficulties about for good.

The disciples once questioned Jesus when they saw a man who was blind from birth. (John 9) “Jesus, did he sin or did his parents? Somebody must’ve messed up for him to be born blind.” (This was the Jewish way of thinking about disabilities and birth defects.) Jesus said, “Neither. He didn’t sin, His parents didn’t sin. But this happened so that the works of God should be revealed in Him.”

In a perfect world, the world God initially created, for example, there would be no blindness, and four-month olds wouldn’t fall asleep and never wake up. But we are in a fallen world, where things are broken, and messed up things happen. The Good News is that the works of God — including His goodness, mercy, and kindness — can still be displayed in this broken world. God is still actively at work, and can bring good out of these hurtful, painful and tragic moments in life. In fact, He promises to work all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Financial or monetary richness is not always a sign of the Lord’s blessing. Statistically speaking, lottery winners often end up very, very unhappy people. (Examples) We are truly rich when we learn to be content with and thankful for what we have. The richness that comes from God can teach us this lesson — to see how rich we already are, because of the gift that we have from God in Christ Jesus. (That’s even better news — our time in this world is incredibly brief. If we love Christ, and are following Him, we will spend eternity with Him, where weeping and sorrow will not exist for even a moment. Hallelujah!)

While sorrow, trials and tribulation will come in this fallen world, (that’s a promise). We may not always understand why God allows them, but I am still certain that God is good, that He can bring beauty from ashes and turn mourning into dancing. I’m thankful to say, as well, I am confident that the Lord’s blessing makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.