“All things happen for my best,” is something we Christians often hear. What a wonderful thing to believe in! We are lucky people who can believe this… but how do I practice it in real life, for example when I’m tempted to be jealous? I’ll just share a situation that I had recently.
“Life is everything I dreamt it would be,” one of my friends said in her Facebook status. “Hmmm… some people seem to have it all, don’t they?” is my first feeling when I read this. Good job. Health. Money. Husband. Lovely children. Talents. I can’t say my first reaction is that I am happy for them. “Why should I be happy for others' success—when I feel like my own dreams have fallen apart?” These feelings are very strong. I feel angry.
As I sit there with these feelings and thoughts coming up, I pray a short prayer, “God help me, I don’t want to be like this!”
Then I remember a short verse which a friend shared with me years ago, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God…” 1 Peter 5:6. I think about these words and have a longing to be obedient to it. I know that obedience to this word of God will bring me to peace and deep happiness, a life which is unshakeable, whatever my circumstances and situations are! I know that I am in God’s hands and everything that happens is the very best for me.
Turned from what is earthly to what is heavenly
I choose to say ‘no’ to these thoughts of complaining, jealousy and self-pity, and know deep inside me that God is happy with me. Thoughts start to come up: “Why not think about making it good for others? Are there not people who have it much worse than I have it? Why do you just think about yourself?” My ‘eyes’ look around and one after another, different people come into my mind—their needs are greater than mine. I begin to pray for them, send a few kind messages, get ideas about what might be good for them. My heart widens to include others and care for them! I don’t think of myself anymore.
Isn’t this the wonderful life that Jesus lived? He didn’t come to be served, but to serve and give His life. Think how lucky I am! I can follow Him and I don’t need to live according to my natural thoughts and feelings which often bring unhappiness, but I can instead do good and spread blessing.
The Bible also tells us to be happy with those who are happy, and I’ve already experienced this to a certain degree. It brings me into an extremely full and happy life, even though I do not have everything my friend has. May my eyes be turned from earthly things to what is heavenly—which brings true rest and joy. God’s Word is true.
“If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days,
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11 (NLT).