“It’s better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to be punished for doing bad. That’s what Christ did definitively: suffered because of others’ sins, the Righteous One for the unrighteous ones. He went through it all—was put to death and then made alive—to bring us to God.”
We live in the Midwest and this past winter our kids had more snow days off from school than usual. One particular evening at dinner, one child prayed, “God, please let us have a snow day tomorrow,” followed by the next child praying, “God, please let us have school tomorrow.” I laughed. I know, not the most appropriate response. It struck me as funny because one person was going to “win” and one person was going to “lose.” Literally within one minute of them finishing their prayers, a text came through on my phone signaling yet another snow day. While rejoicing with one child, I consoled the other.
The above scenario got me thinking about a bigger spiritual lesson. What if two people are simultaneously praying for the same job – one will ultimately be told “yes” while another is told “no.” Does that mean God loves one person more than the other? Is He punishing one person and rewarding the other?
As I’ve learned more about God’s personality and His motives, my answer would have to be “no.” I don’t believe He’s punishing one person and rewarding the other. I think there are a couple things going on that we need to consider the next time we receive our answer from God. First of all, as the above verse explains, God’s ultimate goal in life is for everyone to go to Heaven. His purpose isn’t to make us comfortable or provide a life free from difficulty. One look in the Bible will prove that point. Study the lives of Joseph, David, Moses, or Daniel to name a few. These men dealt with difficult circumstances. They continued to obey God’s commands and as a result, God ultimately got the glory and they were blessed. Everything that God does in life is to point people toward His Son, giving us the choice to choose Him and eternity in Heaven together.
Second, what might seem like the perfect “yes” for you may in fact be “just enough.” I’ve talked quite a bit about how God wants more for us than “just enough.” He ultimately wants “the Best” for our lives. When we look from our small viewpoint, some scenarios scream “yes” at us as though they would be the perfect solution. However, from God’s much higher perspective, our “yes” could in fact spell disaster. I find for my own life, most often the easy road I prefer doesn’t allow me to grow and mature in the skills I need for the next leg of my journey. Easy is nice, but most of the time easy just prolongs the growth necessary to fulfill my purpose as well as delays the potential blessings.
I want to encourage you the next time you pray and receive “no” when you really wanted “yes,” or visa versa. God loves each and every one of us. He sees not only where we are but where we ultimately are going much clearer than we do. Trust Him with your “yes” and with your “no.” If you continue to obey and listen to His voice, the final result may be better than you originally asked for.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014