Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote this beautiful verse:
Get leave to work
In this world — ’tis the best you get at all;
For God, in cursing, gives us better gifts
Than men in benediction.
. . .Get work, get work; Be sure ’tis better
Than what you work to get.
The lines are a reference to the Garden of Eden, and how when God kicked man out of paradise, He cursed the ground and gave him work to do. God, however, could have sent Adam and Eve into a life of idleness, which would have been far worse for them (one need not look far in our society to see what idleness breeds). Instead, God gave man something to satisfy his soul, something to structure his time, something by which he could measure achievement. Forced labor is bitter; but the work that we are truly called to do is one of life’s biggest blessings.
“God is good. His love endures forever.” Over and over scripture asserts His goodness. We say “God is good” and “All the time” but I think most of us haven’t even begun to imagine how good He is.
After living a self-absorbed, destructive life for a decade, missing countless opportunities to advance Christ’s Kingdom of life, there was a time when I went through deep regret and terrible remorse. I finally came to a place where I knew wholeheartedly that God had forgiven me and that there was “now no condemnation” through Christ.
However, beyond God’s love and forgiveness, what I hadn’t foreseen was how He would restore all those missed opportunities over the years. What I hadn’t imagined was the work He’d give me to do – through teaching and writing and mentoring – and the lives He’d allow me to touch, using the very things that had brought shame and destruction into my prodigal time.
Every area of our lives that we surrender to God is an opportunity to receives His overwhelming goodness. God, by His very nature, cannot help but be good to us and pour goodness into what we give Him. So why would we hold anything back?
“God in cursing gives us better gifts than men in benediction.” God, when He is grieved with us, when He must discipline us, is far better to us than our fellow men are when they’re trying to bless us and honor us. Isn’t that an astounding thought?