“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 envy? I’ll just share a situation that I had recently.
“Life is everything I dreamt it would be” one of my friend’s Facebook status’ boldly proclaimed. “Hmmm... some people seem to have it all don’t they?” is my first feeling when I read this. Career, check. Health, check. Money, check. Husband, check. Lovely children, check. Talent, check. I can’t say my first reaction is happiness for them. “Why should I spend my life being happy for other’s successes—when I feel like my own dreams have fallen apart?” These feelings are strong, almost overwhelming. I feel angry.
As I sit there with these feelings and thoughts welling 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 Pet. 5:6). I think about the words and have an inner urge to be obedient to it. I know, not least from seeing the life of my friend who shared it with me, that obedience to this word of God will bring me to peace and deep happiness, a life which is unshakeable, whatever my circumstances! I know that I am in God’s hands and everything that happens is the very best for me.
I choose to reject thoughts of protest, envy and self-pity and get a deep confirmation inside that God is happy with me.
I choose to reject thoughts of protest, envy and self-pity and get a deep confirmation inside that God is happy with me. Thoughts start to come; “Why not think about making it good for others? Aren’t there people far worse off than you? 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 texts, get inspiration about what might be good for them. My heart widens to encompass and care for others! I put myself out of the picture. 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 who can follow Him and not live according to my natural thoughts and feelings which often bring misery, but instead do good and spread blessing!
The Bible also tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice, and I’ve already experienced this to a certain degree. It brings me into an extremely fulfilled and happy life, despite my situation not ‘ticking all the boxes’, as people say. May my eyes be turned from earthly gain to what is heavenly—which brings true contentment and joy. God’s word is true.
“He who would love life and see good days,
Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:10-11