The world's pleasures are often curses in disguise!
(John MacDuff, "Ripples in the Twilight" 1885)
"Jabez called on the God of Israel saying: 'Oh, that You would bless me indeed!' So God granted him what he requested." 1 Chronicles 4:10
There is much apparent good not worth calling by the name. What the world speaks of as blessings are, some of them, often worthless, and many of them positively evil and detrimental. They are counterfeits — they do not bear upon them the coinage and currency of Heaven. Satan has disguised them — stamped them as true metal — while they are base alloy!
Let us leave our blessings, and the method of their bestowal, with the Giver of every good and perfect gift — into His hand committing our earthly all, with this prayer of intense fervor yet of simple faith, "Oh that You would bless me indeed!" I want nothing which the world calls a blessing, unless You think it proper for me. I want no shadows — no baubles. I do not ask for riches — they may be a snare to me. I do not ask for . . .
the cup running over,
the barns full,
the fig-tree blossoming,
the home-nest without the thorn.
These might alienate me from Yourself, and bind me only closer to earth!
I want blessings indeed. God of Israel! I am no judge of this. Whatever YOU give, will be a true blessing to me. And even if You take it away — I will strive to believe that the dark, painful dealing, is Your kindness to me also.
Yes, we repeat, the world's pleasures are often curses in disguise — like Cleopatra's viper, which was hidden in a basket of flowers. There is often . . .
an adder lurking in the bed of roses,
a fly in the ointment,
poison in the wine-cup!
But the blessings of God are blessings bearing His own divine seal and signature. They may come . . .
in frowning providences,
in baffling dispensations,
in strokes of the chastening rod.
For the present they may seem not joyous, but grievous. But I am content to be in His hands — joyful or sorrowful, in health or in sickness, living or dying. O my Father, give Your own blessing, and I shall bow my head in submission; for I can only hear in it accents of paternal love!