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Blessing: An Interference by God in our Lives

I remember as a child sitting in a special church session listening to a Greek-American Bible scholar and author named Spiros Zodhiates. I did not know at the time what an honor it was to have such a man come to teach in our little church. He taught with knowledge and authority from the Greek language and what I remember most was his teaching on the topic of blessing. What he said made a strong impression on me. He said that blessing meant God was going to interfere in your life. I imagine it has been almost 50 years since I sat in that pew listening to his teaching, but I never forgot his interpretation of the word blessing and have listened carefully to any teaching on the topic since then. Just a few days ago, I read the following in a PowerPoint presentation on an unrelated topic:

“To bless: To ask God to interfere, to take action in one’s life to bring them into the desired relationship with Himself so that they are truly blessed and fully satisfied. The blessing releases God’s power to change the character and destiny of the one being blessed.”

This matched perfectly with what I remembered from my childhood. It rings deeply true in my soul that God blesses through an omniscient and loving interference.

The word “interfere” is typically a negative word. Oftentimes the experience of someone interfering in your life is something to avoid or push against (queue the stereotypical mother-in-law). But when God is the one doing the interfering, it’s for a very positive reason: to develop our character, increase our faith, or change the course of our lives.

Our human mindset thinks that blessing is obtaining good, tangible things: a place to live, a vehicle, health, a job, a relationship with another person, a vacation. These things are blessings on one level—they are the pleasant things of life that are there to help us experience God’s goodness in the world—but in the eternal perspective, blessings are the ways God has interfered in our hearts and lives to call us to Himself: to see Him more clearly, to know Him as our Heavenly Father, to deepen our understanding and trust in His character and power.

Oftentimes, those things that stretch our faith and develop our character are not things that initially feel like what we call a blessing. We may experience God’s interfering blessing as a trial. We may have no idea what He is doing in our lives and might even feel abandoned for a time. But we can cling to the truths in scripture that assure us God is working on our behalf to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).

When I hear someone glibly say “God bless her heart” when it’s actually a catty way of speaking ill of the person in a veiled put-down, it strikes of the worst kind of insincerity. It’s more like a curse. Let’s speak the word “bless” with reverence and only say it when we really mean it, with the full spiritual force of its meaning.

When we say “God bless you” to someone or someone says it to us, let’s remember that it means that God is going to act in such a way as to set a new course in motion that will actively involve His goodness on our behalf or on behalf of that individual.

My church sings a beautiful song called “The Lord Bless Thee”. We sing it acapella over one another, sometimes calling on God to bless us as a church family. At times we also sing it to a particular church member or a family who may be moving or going away to serve elsewhere in the world. Sometimes I sing it by myself in a time of prayer on behalf of my loved ones. When we give this blessing, it is tuning our hearts to call upon God for both temporal and spiritual goodness in the life of someone else. The song is sung with echoes and repetition for effect, but the overall words are:

“The Lord bless thee.

And keep thee.

The Lord make His face to shine upon thee.

And be gracious unto thee.

The Lord lift up His countenance on thee and give thee peace.”

We also have had a practice of noting “sightings” of God at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us, which helps increase our faith. When we intentionally look for the ways God is at work (interfering), we more clearly see His hand of blessing touching each of us.

I’d like to challenge myself and my Christian brothers and sisters to begin or intensify the practice of blessing, even if it’s done privately in prayer and to look back at the end of the day to think about where we may have seen the hand of God interfering to bless our life or the life of someone we care about. It encourages our hearts and increases our faith to reflect and take note of it.

May the Lord bless you and keep you today. May your faith increase. May He direct the course of your life. May you receive His blessings of interference with gratitude and give praise to the Holy One who is gracious to you and gives you peace.

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