"Pursue peace with all people, and holiness,
without which no one will see the Lord:
Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God;
lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble,
and by this many become defiled;"
I regrettably find myself looking at the achievements of those around me and thinking, "why do they get to do this and not me? Why are they blessed in this area while I wait year after year for my dream to come true?"
It seems the natural response. Without going into detail, I recently received news that fell directly into this category. Someone I know has reached a certain achievement that I have been working hard towards, something I have been dreaming about for months. I now sit, watching as they enjoy this reward.
I could have accepted the fact if they had been working hard as well, but whenever we talk about it they smile and reiterate how unexpected it was, how they hadn't worked toward this achievement but it had been bestowed upon them for some cosmic reason. I smile back at them and tell them they deserved this blessing. Inside I am roaring with frustration.
If I wasn't careful, this could have led to a deep bitterness which could have consumed me, taken me apart. But God. But God.
I always talk about how precious God's word is to me, how I desire His presence and teaching. How I trust Him to carry me through these times, because honestly, I cannot do it alone.
I want to take you to the moment that He rescued me from this deadly trap...
It is a dark night, the stars are hidden behind the clouds. I am lying in bed, trying to sleep. All I can think of is those words that broke me down to my most basic self, the words that unknowingly told me I wasn't good enough, that I wasn't ready. The words that told me nothing would be the same, that this joy would never be my own.
"God!" I cry out silently in the depths of my soul, tears streaming into my pillow. "God, why not me? Why cannot I have this? I did it right! I did everything right, and they won. They left me in the dust. Why not me?"
My heart pounds, my stomach aches, my muscles scream with tension.
"God, please give me peace about this."
I wait for a divine miracle, a moment of revelation or unchartered peace, or something. Anything. I am met by silence.
Then, like the slow creeping of the sun as it rises behind a mountain to set the naturescape aglow, a warm reminder comes to mind. The words of truth bury themselves deep into my conscience.
"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I am the Lord your God. I know the plans that I have for you. My ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts. Just wait, you will go out with joy and be led forth in peace, the mountains and the hills will break into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Be still, and know that I am God."
(Joshua 1:9, Jeremiah 29:11, Isaiah 55, Psalm 46:10)
Peace didn't come immediately. I wrestled with God for days about the unfairness and the various complications that will result of this moment, but I have reached a point where I can say that I trust He knows what He is doing. I am still tempted to ask, "Why not me?" Now, though, I try to combat this thought by asking God this instead:
"What do you want me to do now?"
He has a purpose for each of us at every point in our lives. I hope you are encouraged to know that you are not alone in feeling this way. The question will always hang, and there may be no immediate answer, but try to trust that God is working on your path to lead you in the way that He knows you will make the biggest difference.