I read a devotional the other day that kicked me in the pants- in a good way. The verse was from Romans 8:28, "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." And it was about how Paul, although doing the work of God, had faced such immense suffering. Shouldn't God's favor have protected Paul from so much trouble?
In my head, I know the answers for Paul's case. His suffering produced character traits in him that wouldn't have been learned otherwise. His response to the trials brought tremendous glory to God, and won people to the Lord. And he was able to lead with compassion because he understood pain. There are so many reasons why God allows suffering. It's easy to see it in Biblical examples.
But in my own life, I've been acting like I believe something else. Like because I want to serve the Lord, everything should be going great. I shouldn't have to wait for His promises. It's not fair. I've been good, tried hard to be perfect, even. I've should have earned His attention by now... And then I recognize my bad attitude and switch to the opposite. I guess because I'm stuck in this rut it means I'm not worthy of God's love or attention. I must be unloveable. I can't do anything for God...
Sometimes I need an in-your-face reminder that I've got it all backwards. In Romans 9:16-17, Paul reminds us that God's promise "does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the Scripture says... 'I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.' "
I can't be good enough or try hard enough to earn God's blessing. He chooses to love and promise good things to me because He simply chose to. So when I feel like I deserve more, I remember that I can't earn it. And when I feel unworthy, I remember that it's ok because He gets more glory. God uses the weak to display His power.
In the meantime, I remind myself that God loves me. And if He loves me, then He will work all things together for my good. So I must continue to trust and wait until He sends an answer. So really, once again it's about faith that God will do what He's promised. And once again I must ask Him to change me, not my circumstances. And once again I must ask for His grace to cover me while I'm waiting.