My toddler class had a rough day. We had a child who stayed home sick, a teacher who stayed home sick with something else, and another child who threw up in the classroom. We had several fussy kids who were tired and teething and I’m not sure what else.
After everyone finally settled down for nap, one little guy who had already had a rough day woke up way too early. No matter what I tried, he was still fussy and uncomfortable, crying in a sad little voice unless we walked the halls together. Poor guy had to be held the rest of naptime, so my long “Things To Do While They Sleep” list is still…long.
Every Single Blessing
Paul wrote Ephesians while he was in prison, to a church who faced growing uncertainty and the challenges of living as Christians in first-century Roman territory. He opened Ephesians characteristically, with praise to “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3). Wait. Every spiritual blessing.
Paul says that we have already been given every possible gift, spiritually speaking. We don’t have to work to attain some kind of higher level of blessing, and God isn’t holding any blessings back from us.
Paul says every spiritual blessing. Each and every one. We already have all of them.
That You May Know
Just a few verses later, Paul shares his prayer for the Ephesian church, his desire for them:
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might” (Ephesians 1:16-19, emphases added).
That you may know. Do we know? Do we really know? Do we even realize the magnitude of what we’ve been given? Paul lays it all out for us: We have been called to a hope, promised an inheritance, and assured of His power for us. It’s all there.
- Hope. It is a powerful word. It is a trust that, no matter how bad things are right now, there is a deeper purpose in it and assurance that things won’t always be this way. One of the strongest declarations of hope in the Bible is Hebrews 6:17-20. As you read it, notice how many words feel like they are meant to be a rock in hard times: “So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever…”
Convincingly. Guaranteed. Unchangeable. Refuge. Strong encouragement. Hold fast. Sure. Steadfast. Anchor… You can count on this hope.
- Inheritance. By using the word “inheritance,” Paul reminds us that God—the Most High Creator of all the earth—is our Father. Let that encouragement seep into the deepest parts of you. All those doubts and worries you have today? God is your Father. Your problems may still be there, but your Father will guide and protect you through them.
- Power. God Almighty—our Father—raised Jesus Christ from the dead, rescuing His people from their sin bondage forever. What power! And He will use that power for our good, for our needs, just like He has for our salvation.
No matter what we face tomorrow, these gifts we have been given are still ours—and no bad day can take them away.
On the Hard Days
Hope. Inheritance. Power.
What more do we need?
Even when our day is filled with frustration. Crying. Discouragement. Just-don’t-know-what-to-do-it-ness. Our Father has promised us an unshakeable hope, unending inheritance, and His powerful help. Not only on some days, but every day. Even the hard ones. Especially the hard ones.
Today was not my day. To be honest, it wasn’t a particular toddler’s day, either. But hallelujah to the God of hope and promise and power, each and every day is His.
I can go with that.