A friend recently posted on Facebook:
“Not the happiest of days in my life.
God must have bigger plans for me.”
I’ve had days like that.
- When I didn’t get the job.
- When a relationship broke.
- When the medication wasn’t effective.
At the end of days like these, I’ve comforted myself with the assurance that God has something better for me.
But what if He doesn’t?
- What if there isn’t a better job waiting for me?
- What if the relationship will never be repaired?
- What if the illness is terminal?
What if today is as good as this life will ever get?
I’m not talking about eternity. Christians have the assurance that eternal life will be way better than what we have now. But what about now?
I’ve often comforted myself with assurances such as God has something better for me, or God will restore that relationship or God will heal me. Still, God may choose not to do these things. Some Christians never receive the jobs they want, the restored relationships they seek, or the healing they’re praying for.
Maybe the problem lies in how we define better.
I admit it. I usually define better in terms of more money, physical healing, happy relationships, and anything else that makes life easier, pain-free, and pleasant.
But God defines better as being more like Christ.
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory,
are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory,
which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (II Corinthians 3:18).
“And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.
For those God foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:28-29).
Being more like Christ includes being humble, having a servant’s heart, and focusing on the eternal over the temporal. Problem is, those characteristics are almost always the result of problems…lots of problems.
When my definition of better doesn’t line up with God’s definition, I will be forever disappointed. Life will continually fall short of what I imagine it should be.
But when I define better as God defines it, then I see the value in trials, the good in disappointment, and the blessing in not getting what I thought I wanted. I’m not always there – some days it’s easier than others for me to line up my perspective with God’s perspective.
Of course, I never stop reminding myself that everything that happens in this life is preparing me for eternity, when life really will be as good as it gets.
I’ve been asking myself these very questions! My work has changed dramatically since I first began writing then working with other poets and writers – long before the Internet. Some days seem like set-backs, but I trust God to guide and bring all things together for good. Thanks for your good reminder.
Thank you, Mary. It’s a reminder I needed for myself, too!
“God defines better as being more like Christ.” This really helps me for the direction God is leading me in my writing–more conformed to His image and less conformed by my opinions and perceptions. I don’t know exactly what that will look like, all I know is that God is challenging me to “more.” Thanks!
Life this side of heaven will never be without the effect of sin. When I feel it’s effect through trails, disappoint and my own failures. It never gets better until I crawl in the arms of my Abba father and allow his image and ways to make things better.
Bethany, I’m not sure what God’s “better” will look like for me, either, but glad to be on the journey with you!
Cheryl, I love your image of crawling into the arms of Abba!
There is such a comfort in Romans 8:28, knowing that everything is going to be okay, even when it appears not to be. That is where trust comes in. I think gratitude for God’s love and blessings leads to contentment, and it is God’s will for us to be thankful in all things(1 Thessalonians 5:18). Having said that, I often find myself struggling with discontentment, which feels like impatience. Sometimes I am impatient with myself or others, in the sense of being tired of a situation that hasn’t changed (feeling discouraged or disappointed); and, sometimes I am impatient with God, even in my hopeful expectation of what He is going to do. In any case, I am comforted to know that He is working all things together for our good.
Liz – thank you for your transparency. Contentment and impatience are things many of us struggle with – myself included! As you noted, I’m so glad we can return again and again to the truth of Romans 8:28.