Sunday, December 9, 2018

Reflecting on Blessings

By Sarah Van Diest

“True beauty must be able to engage the dark desolations of pain; perhaps it is on this frontier that its finest light appears?” John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace

There was so much I could write that day. I could write on being home after a trip to visit our son in Italy. I could write about Christmas just around the corner. I could write about one of our five sons who turns 18 in a few days, entering adulthood. I could write about freedom and life juxtaposed with law and death as depicted in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Seriously. There is so much I could write about. Friendship and love. Hope in sorrow. God’s faithfulness. Thankfulness. Wisdom. Passion. Forgiveness. Grace.

How do we choose, dear ones, what to write on when our hearts are full? How can we select one blessing over another and proclaim it to be superior simply by the act of choosing it? How do we not, when our hearts run over, spend our entire day with our eyes heavenward praising our Father? Or maybe we do just that.
Today is all we have. Yes? Tomorrow may come, but it may not. The hope of tomorrow, though, encourages and excites, urging us onward. Yesterday is gone, though it feeds our souls with its memory and fills us with its rich flavor of experience. Life is made of all of this. It is made of joys and pains, of hopes granted and hopes denied. And from where I sit today, just now, I say it is all very good.

And how do we define blessing? If I say I am choosing between what blessings to write on, what constitutes such a thing?

I believe this to be my life question. It comes up from a deep well with or without my permission. It is the question that is marked on me. It may not always be phrased the same way, in fact it rarely is, but the heart of it remains steadfast. The heart of this question is, “Where is God?”

You may not readily see how these two questions are, to me, synonymous, so let me shed light on it. It is easy for us to see God in the good things in life. When miracles happen or prayers are answered, we see God clearly. But when miracles fail to occur or when prayers are answered converse to what we had desired, do we see Him so easily, so clearly? When evil rages into our lives and destroys, do we see Him? Is He there?

I do not think I am unique in being marked with this question. I believe every soul is. Our spirits cry out for Him because we were made to find Him. We search for Him in the todays, yesterdays and tomorrows of life because knowing Him is the central aspect of our beings. “Where are You?” is the great cry of humanity up to the heavens and out into the depths of the universe.

And if we have ears to hear, the answer thunders back, “I am.”

In all things, my gentle reader, the great I am is to be found. I am not espousing any particular doctrine, only what I understand as truth. There is no time or place possible outside of the Father.

In this then can we not take confidence? In the eternal nature of His presence can we not take comfort? Can we not look then at all things as blessings because all things point us to Him? What greater joy could there be than to find Him and know Him?

I could write today about many things, but the purpose of each is the same. Every story, every thought, every breath, heartbeat and heartache leads to Him. That is life. Yesterday. Tomorrow. Today. And it is good.

“…and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” Acts 17:26, 27.


Sarah Van Diest is a writer and editor. She’s the mother of two boys, stepmother to three more, and wife to David. Sarah wrote this book as letters to a dear friend whose life was turning upside down. She’s done this for years for numerous friends and will continue to, Lord willing. It’s her gift to them. It’s hope written down.


  1. Ms. Sarah. I do not believe we choose what we write about, be they blessings or not. Instead, the moments in our lives we write about choose us my friend. For me, at least, I listen for the Holy Spirit's guidance in my every day. Some days, it's the memory of a great blessing. Others, it's the pain of same past event or word. Alas, the mystery of our motivations. God's blessings ma'am for giving into yours.

    1. Thank you, Jim! I'm glad you are listening and writing! We need voices of hope like yours!
      Blessings and Merry Christmas!

  2. Good thought to ponder as always ❤