by Miss Mo
It had been a couple of those kinds of months; you know those ones where despite your best efforts nothing seems to be going right. So of course you start to self-examine and then comparisons between you and others start coming up. You think to yourself “but I’ve been doing almost everything right, at least all the big stuff that really matter anyway and I’ve been dedicated.” Then thoughts about other people start creeping in, you start to look at your friends and acquaintances and start to scrutinize and become a judge over their lives. And you say to yourself, “these people around are leading less than holy lives (and of course you are judging this according to the standards of the word of God) so you are definitely in the right here, or so you think. Then the anger and bitterness starts to set in because it seems like those imperfect and wicked people are prospering more than you.
Then your conscience steps in and tells you to check yourself but you can’t even pray, so you reach out to a fellow christian who encourages you and tells you to just praise God despite your feelings and promises to hold you up in prayers. You do as s/he says and in a few days, you start feeling better but you still have unanswered questions. So you table your questions before the Almighty and like a good child, you await His response and faithful as He is, He responds. This was my situation and over my everyday bible readings and daily verse readings, I got the following responses.
1 Peter 4: 12 -13 (MSG): Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.
Isa 30: 19 -22 (KJV): For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Romans 9: 16: So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
1 Corinthians 2:5: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Zechariah 4:6: Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
Psalm 73: This passage is too long to paraphrase but emphases are laid on vs. 10 – 24.
Regarding how I felt about what God was doing in the lives of other:
Romans 9:10-16 (MSG): And that’s not the only time. To Rebecca, also, a promise was made that took priority over genetics. When she became pregnant by our one-of-a-kind ancestor, Isaac, and her babies were still innocent in the womb—incapable of good or bad—she received a special assurance from God. What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that his purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by his decision, flowing steadily from his initiative. God told Rebecca, “The firstborn of your twins will take second place.” Later that was turned into a stark epigram: “I loved Jacob; I hated Esau.” Is that grounds for complaining that God is unfair? Not so fast, please. God told Moses, “I’m in charge of mercy. I’m in charge of compassion.” Compassion doesn’t originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat, but in God’s mercy. The same point was made when God said to Pharaoh, “I picked you as a bit player in this drama of my salvation power.” All we’re saying is that God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part for good or ill.
All these passages came to me at different times and for me, they all pointed in the same direction – It’s not about me or other people; it’s about God and my relationship with Him. Instead of allowing the anger and bitterness to creep in because I envied others. I realised I shouldn’t even have allowed the comparisons with others to start. God has a different path for us all and if we focus on Him who is our goal, the distractions of the others will fade out.
Bottom line: When it seems like the wicked are prospering, check your relationship with God, remember His goodness towards you, focus on Him and pray for the so called “wicked”. Our goal is not the acquisition of things in this world (prosperity as the world sees it), but to become like the very One that redeemed us. Seek ye first His kingdom and His righteousness, everything else is a fringe benefit.