“It’s not supposed to be this way…” This thought briefly crossed my mind one morning as I got my kids ready to go to church. A late night before that, and an extra early morning with my toddlers were tempting me to self-pity. My husband was away working and wouldn’t be home for another few days.
That evening, my son threw up in his bed. I would never have planned the next day would be spent parenting on my own, with a strong possibility that I’d be serving toast, slinging buckets at everyone who sighed funny, and washing laundry as fast as possible. When one kid out of five gets sick, I batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst.
“It’s not supposed to be this way…” I’m so tempted to mutter this to myself to be consoled with self-pity. And if my life was all about me, it would be true. If I was the author of my destiny, the one who shaped myself, it would be a truth that I could tell myself.
I didn’t choose this and I didn’t orchestrate this situation to work out this way. And if I didn’t choose this, I don’t have to be cheerful about it, right?
A Good and Loving Father
As I grabbed quick sips of coffee that morning, I realized – it is supposed to be this way. Yes, sin has brought sin and sickness into this world, but God is sovereign and He is at work in us through it all.
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
(Psalm 139:16, ESV)
Before the foundations of the earth were laid, God had planned everything in that moment, everything before it after it, from the hairs on my head to the crumbs under my kitchen table. A good and loving Father orchestrated all these things to come together for my good and His glory. He is not the author of sin and sickness but He is using these means to make me more into His image.
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes for the Lord who is the Spirit.”
(2 Cor. 3:18, ESV, emphasis mine)
How is it possible that God can use crumbs and vomit and flat tires, heartache and tragedy to make us more into His image? How can He use such hard and painful things to paint such beautiful pictures of His glorious majesty? I can’t even use really nice paintbrushes and expensive paint and turn out a half decent likeness of His creation.
We Are Not The Author
My life isn’t about me. What a beautiful relief that is! I am not telling my own story. God is writing a story – a story of how He loves us, a story of how He saves us from utter darkness and brings us into His glorious light.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
(1 Peter 2:9, ESV)
Jesus changes everything – He redeems and sanctifies all these seemingly mundane and frustrating things and then uses them to shape us more like Him. Why? Because He loves us. Because He cares for us.
He is writing His story, and it is better than anything you or I could dream up for ourselves.
The Answer For Self-Pity
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
(Romans 8:28, ESV)
The next time you are tempted to self-pity, to whisper to yourself that it isn’t supposed to be this way, I’m praying you’ll stop and remember. Stop and rest in Christ’s promise. It is supposed to be this way. He hasn’t forgotten you. He is working all things for our good and His glory.