I’m an only child, so I’m fairly spoilt (okay, no, I’m very spoilt!)
To make up for the absence of a brother or sister, my parents always gave me what I wanted. Most of the time I didn’t work for anything; I never really earned what I got… but I still got it. It’s not like my parents were extremely well-off, but they were focused on giving me the best. I would be flat-out lying if I said I had never thrown a tantrum for not getting what I wanted. I would get extremely angry at my parents, sometimes even reaching the “I’m-not-eating-the-food” stage. Yup, not great, I know…
This weekend my social media feed was, ahem… abuzz (a grand total of two people commented) when I posted an extremely vague Facebook status titled “It is not fair!”
Let me explain: God had spoken to me about a relationship situation and said “no”. To top things off, He relayed the same message to the other person. We were not to pursue the relationship, even though I wanted to.
A little background: I like helping other people connect the dots of their life stories in an effort to set them on a path to happiness and fulfillment. It’s what I like to do, and I feel I’m good at it. So, when this relationship situation happened, I started feeling like I was always helping others – but that the happiness they felt was apparently not for me. In short, I was angry at God – it felt like he had let me down!
Throwing my toys out the cot, I retaliated with a tantrum: “It’s not fair!”
You see, we’re sometimes tempted to look at our relationship with God simply in terms of what we can get from Him. It’s all about how He can make me happy. Me, me, me! There’s a simple problem here: I’m too used to getting what I want.
But that’s not really what a relationship with God is like. Often, God says “no” – not because He’s spiteful, but because He loves us and wants to protect us from situations that aren’t right for us. Often, we’re so caught up in what we want from God, that we miss His purpose or guidance in a specific situation. Making that shift from a selfish, self-serving attitude to a selfless, self-emptying love for God is part of the journey every single one of us has to undertake if we are to really live for Him.
To be perfectly honest, I can’t say that I’m not still a little disappointed. As I’m writing this, I’m still trying to process things. But I can tell you that He is working on my heart and teaching me that a relationship with Him is not all about what I want.
I don’t know what your “It’s-not-fair” moment is going to be. But I’m pretty sure you’re going to have one at some point. And when that happens, I want you to remember that a relationship with God is not simply about what you get out of the deal. Sometimes, God’s purposes are beyond our understanding. And when that happens, you’re going to need to be big enough to not throw a tantrum, and trust Him to direct your steps in His divine wisdom.