If your brain works how my brain works then you might find yourself landing on many of the same false assumptions about life and the way it should operate. Somewhere along the way I have developed this idea that if I have endured a hard thing for the glory of God, then He owes it to me to make everything else in my life smooth. Like, if one of my children is throwing up, I shouldn’t also have to deal with other sick bellies or a broken dishwasher or a suspicious transaction on my bank statement, you know what I mean?
This false mentality that God owed me something after I suffered under His sovereign hand has never been more apparent to me than the months of having an empty womb after my daughter passed away. I had, in my opinion, suffered well for the Lord and brought much glory to His name after Evie had passed away. And so when we began trying for a rainbow baby a few months later, I expected it to happen quickly and exactly on my own timeline. I mean, God owed it to me, right? Shouldn’t this be my reward for doing such a great job and pointing people to Him even when it hurt?
Let me be the first to admit how ugly and self-entitled all of that sounds. Ew. I am sorry those thoughts ever went through my head. But the truth is, they did, and I really, truly felt that way. And I think that is what made it so hard for me to wait patiently through the spring and summer and fall months when the pregnancy tests kept coming back negative. God owed this to me. So why was it taking so long?
What happened in those moments where I felt so angry at God for not giving me what I perceived I deserved was that I forgot my place and forgot what it was that I actually deserved, the thing I deserved that God’s good grace had delivered me from. Because what I actually deserved was eternal separation from God because of the sin in my heart. But what God, in His infinite mercy, decided to give me instead was a way to eternal life with Him through His son, Jesus.
Author and speaker, Jennifer Rothschild, writes this, “In our pre-Christ state, we only deserve hell because sin deserves hell. Sin is not worthy of heaven. If not for Christ, we would have received what the weight of our sin deserved. But, Christ took what He did not deserve so we would never have to.”
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In my podcast conversation with Cori Salchert, she talks about some additional challenges she has faced despite the labor-intensive calling God has already placed on her life. Cori and her family are foster parents for terminally ill babies and children. Considering this noble cause and the level of emotion involved in caring for these children, it would make sense that God would make the rest of this journey easy and smooth for her. But Cori was so open and vulnerable in sharing how hard it has been to realize there are other painful parts of this journey, ones that were completely unexpected. She said she has to daily surrender to the Lord and proclaim the truth of James 4:8 that as she draws near to God, as hard as it may be, that He will draw near to her and meet her in her desperation.
We can often equate being in God’s will as having a life that is smooth and easy and affords us our own preferences most of the time. And not only do we equate God’s will with providing us this easy life, we come to expect it. But the truth us, Jesus promised that we will have trouble (John 16:33), and God promised to hold us up when we walk through the fire (Isaiah 43:2), not if. And we should never, ever come to expect that which we do not deserve. Because God’s grace through Jesus has given us abundantly more than we will ever deserve. In His kindness, God has not given us what we deserve so that we can embrace His gift of what we could never come to deserve on our own.
Dear Father, thank you so much for your kindness to us in providing a way to eternal life through your Son, Jesus. Forgive us when we act entitled to a certain kind of life and help us to instead embrace the One you have uniquely written for each one of us. Meet us where we are today and allow us to be overcome with your infinite kindness and our infinite need for it. In Your Name, Amen.
But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.