Summary: Last Sunday I used a phrase that you may have heard growing up: do as I say, not as I do. Today I have another that would be just as bothersome: this is for your own good. God will do things we won't like but will be for our own good.
IT'S FOR YOUR OWN GOOD
Last Sunday I used a phrase that you may have heard growing up: do as I say, not as I do. That's a phrase we wouldn't have wanted to hear. Today I have another one that would be equally as bothersome: this is for your own good. We didn't like to hear that because we didn't want to go through whatever it was that was supposed to be for our good. If given the choice we would've chosen not to go through with it. But after we did we were glad we did. God will do some things that we may not like but they will be for our own good.
1) It's for your own good when I say, 'no'.
We thank God for many things-his love, goodness, mercy. We thank him when he answers our prayers. But have you ever thanked God when he didn't answer your prayers? I know it sounds absurd: "Thank you God for denying my request", but it's fitting to do so. Not that we pray hoping God will say 'no'. That would be absurd.
But when God says ‘no’ it is a test. And within that test we'll be tempted to change three things-our view of God, our devotion to God, our trust in God. So when we pass the test, we can be thankful. We may not have received what we asked for, but in resisting the temptation to harbor bitterness and resentment towards God over it, there is something we have received-a deeper connection, stronger faith, greater humility.
Our view of God isn't diminished-he is still a holy, just and loving God. Our devotion to God and our trust in God remains solid despite being disappointed. One of the things that helps us to accept God's no answer is found in Isa. 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
This takes humility but if we keep in mind that we are limited in our overall understanding and since we're human we have the ability to be selfish in our desires, we can accept that if we don't have it there must be a good reason. Humility helps us to seek God, knowing his ways and thoughts are holy and infinitely better than ours. If God didn't grant it then it's for our own good not to have it.
Mitzi Neely tells the story of when she wanted a certain job but didn't get it. "One of my biggest disappointments was a job that I thought I had wanted. It was a big job with a ton of responsibility and long hours. My life would be so different today if I had gotten that position. It was simply not meant to be. And, I was so thankful for God's No.
Instead, He was preparing me to pursue my call and love of Him more passionately and deeply. God’s wild pursuit down this path had a completely different destination than I expected. He saved me from myself while simultaneously giving me the absolute best outcome.
Professionally I have a job in the education world I truly love and personally I enjoy a ministry that supports and encourages women right where they are. The friendships I have made in both places are priceless. The opportunities have been unique, personalized, and laced with powerful experiences. And for that, I am extremely thankful."
It was for Mitzy's own good that she was denied the job she wanted. She didn't perceive what God's plan was at the time; that understanding came later. We only see what's in the moment; we can't see tomorrow. What we think is best is based in limited knowledge and insight. God's the only one who knows all and sees all.
Heb. 4:13, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."
In every situation, in every person, every motive, every thought, everything happening behind the scenes, it's all in full view for God. Sometimes something looks good from our vantage point; sometimes a person will seem good and trustworthy from our vantage point. But God knows all and sees all.
So when he gets in the way of what we think is a sure thing or perfect job or relationship or whatever, we need to fight against thinking God is being a killjoy or that he's out to get us. Instead, we need to be thankful because if God gets in the way and stops it he's saving us from a certain amount of misery down the road.