What about the times in our lives when things have been going really good for a long period of time, and then we begin to face a challenge, or a series of challenges all at once? Does this mean that we are now fallen out of God’s Favor, or that He is punishing us for something we have done wrong? The short answer to this question is “not always,” but an examination of Scripture can help us understand this topic even more.
In the book of Exodus, we see the Israelites who have been wandering in the wilderness for many years. During their time in the wilderness, the Jews complained to Moses and Aaron about being hungry, and regretting leaving Egypt. As a result, God blessed the Jews with food directly from heaven. “Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no. And it shall come to pass, that on the sixth day they shall prepare that which they bring in; and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” (Exodus 16:4-5). This manna was a very easy blessing of which to partake. It fell out of the sky like dew in the early morning, and all the Jews had to do was pick it up off of the ground and eat it.
This is an example of a blessing that was easily given and easily received. God provides many blessing to us that are easily given and easily received if we live faithfully to Him. But what if certain blessings cease to come? This happened to the Jews. By the time the Israelites had reached the borders of the “Promised Land” of Canaan, Moses was dead, and Joshua the son of Nun was their leader. The land of Canaan was the land promised to the Jews by God, and it was where the Jews would prosper for many years. But let’s read what happens just before the Jews receive this huge blessing. Joshua 5:10-12 says, “And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.”
How does the manna ceasing for the Jews apply to Christians today? The manna was a blessing from God that helped the Jews get through their lives in the wilderness. God gives us many blessing to help us through our lives as well. But notice what happened right before the Jews received a huge blessing of a home in Canaan, the blessing of the manna stopped. This tells us that for those who are faithful to God, He may stop some blessings from coming, or from coming as easily as they did before, but this only means that He has something bigger and better planned for us! God will never leave us “hanging” so to speak. Whenever God closes a door in one area of our lives, He will open another door for us, as long as we cling to Him and stay faithful. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).
God knows our past, present, and future. He knows what is best for us, and He knows what blessings will benefit us the most according to what He has planned for our lives. God’s Plan for us may not be the same as our plan for ourselves, but it is the Best Plan. He always has our best interest in mind, and His Mind is so much greater than ours. Therefore we should examine ourselves frequently (2 Corinthians 13:5) and make sure that we are truly faithful to God in ALL aspects of our lives. If we do find ourselves truly faithful, trust that the challenges that we are facing are not due to being punished by God, but because God has something even greater planned for us!
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)