He loves me, He loves me not, He loves me, He loves me not…
We live our lives playing that game we played as children, only as adults, we’re playing it with God. Husband gets a job. God loves me. Husband’s job ends. Again. God loves me not. Children are healthy. He loves me. Child is terminally ill. He loves me not. House sells in a week. He loves me. House sells in 9 months for a loss and we can’t afford the house we fell in love with. He loves me not. Things are going well—I have God’s blessing. Things spiral out of control—is God mad at me?
We look with physical eyes and believe the outcome and circumstances of our lives show God’s blessing or cursing, that we are rewarded or punished for what we’ve done or haven’t done or how much He loves us. Is that what the Bible says about our lives?
I love the Sound of Music, but the duet that Maria and the Captain sing in the garden, after they’ve proclaimed their love for each other is so sad. We so often look at our lives and think “Oh, this wonderful thing (in this case this love) must be due to something good (and totally unrelated) that we’ve done sometime in our lives.” What, and his first wife did something bad (or he did) so she died and left all those children and him to suffer as a punishment? Really? It just doesn’t work that way.
God’s favor and blessings are unmerited. I can never obey the law or be good enough to even be in the presence of the Lord without being vaporized as darkness, due to my sinful nature, much less to “earn” favor with God. I can’t even save myself from myself. Jesus had to do it for me, I’m so inept and the sacrificial need so great. The blessings of the Lord aren’t in a pack like Santa’s, with a naughty and nice list. “Oh, you’ve been good this year, you get a job. You’ve been bad, you’re going to get cancer.” Matthew 5:45 says
“He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain to the righteous and unrighteous.”
How do we even know that what we think is a blessing or a curse is what we think it is? How do we not know that the job loss WAS the blessing? That being left with a mortgage nine extra months was to help us learn something or be ready for the next step in our lives? How do we know the high paying job was a blessing instead of a distraction what God really had in mind? How do we know that what we think of as a curse isn’t a thorn in our flesh and His strength is made made perfect in our weakness and His grace is more than sufficient? How do we know?
Well, I don’t really know, for sure. I know it’s a struggle to remember to look at this life on earth through eternal, heavenly lenses, not earthly ones. The world looks at life one way, or even lots of ways depending on what you believe, but God just doesn’t. He says things like “to save your life you must lose it” and “blessed are you when you are persecuted for My sake.” Instead of converting Him to my way of looking at life, I want to look at the world and my time here on earth His way. Instead of trying to get convince Him to be on my side, I want to be on His side, wholeheartedly trusting the Lord who said
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My ways higher that your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Is 55:8-9)
It does seem evident however, that this is not a new struggle or idea, this idea that our circumstances are always our fault or a punishment for us being bad. The disciples asked Jesus if the blind man was being punished for his parents’ sin or his own. His reply? Neither the man’s or his parents’ sin caused the blindness. “It was so the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:3) I know that all things work together for good for those who love Christ and are called according to His purpose. I also know that it doesn’t always look the way I think it should look, and that’s one of the many reasons God didn’t put me in charge.
Now, please don’t think I’m saying we are free from responsibility every time bad things happen to us. There are natural consequences for sin in our lives and we can make bad decisions. God gives us a free will, and we don’t always make the best choices, and there are many times when we reap what we sow. That’s not what I’m talking about here—I’m talking about circumstances seemingly beyond our control.
Someone once asked Don Finto how he had stayed the course so long and how they could do that as well. He thought about it, then simply told them to fix their eyes on Jesus and NEVER look away, no matter what the circumstances. That’s really all I’ve got—fix your eyes on Jesus and have faith that He is sovereign and His blessings do come, though not necessarily how, when, and where you expect. And regardless of what’s going on, Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians to “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; and in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
So today I will choose to rejoice, pray without ceasing and give thanks in everything. I don’t have to wonder if I should or if I need to–it’s God’s will for me to rejoice and be thankful where God has placed me and my family. And to do that, I HAVE to pray without ceasing, to keep that blessing that’s incognito right now from looking like a burden, and the gift of the Lord from looking like a curse, and my faith from becoming tinged with an uneasy doubt that God really knows what He’s doing. And to remind myself that with every circumstance and battle, in my spirit the Father always whispers
“I love you. I love you. I love you.”