When loss hits your life, it's hard to believe God has something better
In times of life-shattering disappointment, it's almost impossible to believe that God has something better for you.
For single people, hoping that God will turn your life around when you've lost someone or something important to you seems like an exercise in wishful thinking.
Sometimes we've so convinced ourselves that we've found the perfect person for us that our world falls apart when the relationship ends. We think we'll never find anyone again who could even come close to them. But there's a truth in the Bible that we'd rather not discuss. It sounds arrogant, even greedy.
It's found in Exodus 34:14:
Do not worship any other god, for the LORD,
whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Huh? Jealous? We don't get it. Jealousy is not a good quality in human beings. So how could it be good in God? Does it mean something different in his case? And how does that fit in with the idea that God has something better for us?
Why God is like no other
When God gave the Ten Commandments to the Jews, whom he had just rescued from slavery in Egypt, he wanted to impress on them that he is the only God, not just another in the large pantheon of gods the Egyptians had worshipped. He told them he was jealous because he wanted them to be clear they were to worship nothing except him. He says the same thing to us today. In the 21st century, we face a very real danger of turning our job, our possessions, and even a relationship into our god. It starts out subtly, but we spend so much time, energy and thought on these things that we can neglect the one true God. When we do that, sometimes God will shake us up in some way to bring us to our senses. But other times, when we refuse to make God the central focus of our life, he will take our false god completely away from us. When we do have times of loss, we're usually too angry or hurt to believe that God has something better for us: Himself. Don't get me wrong. When you love someone or enjoy your job, that doesn't mean God is going to take that away because he's jealous. He wants us to have good things, but only if we keep them in perspective and remember that they came from him. We shouldn't confuse the gift with the Giver. Believing that God has something better for you means understanding that he can supply the kind of soul-satisfying love another person never can. It means he understands you in a way no one else can. And it means he can fill that indescribable longing in your heart in a way that no one or nothing else can.
Winnowing away the undeserving
Often we settle for less than the best for ourselves. Whether it's from low self-esteem or low standards for ourselves, we sometimes cling to poor choices. If we have been faithful, the Lord may remove whatever is unworthy because God has something better for us. Many of us have experienced that with jobs. Several years ago, God provided me with a new job in which I had a Christian boss, greater challenges, and more than half again as much income as the job before. When I got laid off from that job, God helped me get an even better job that enabled me to help thousands of deserving people, provided good fringe benefits and a steady, solid income.
And when I left that job, God made it possible for me to create this web site, which is the most fulfilling thing I've ever done. During the difficult transitions, was I able to say, "God has something better for me?" Truthfully, not always. I was pretty upset. But in fact God did have something better for me each time.
When we're too afraid or too stubborn to obey
When a promising relationship ends, it takes tremendous faith to say, "God has something better for me." In fact, atheists would call that attitude unrealistic and naive. It takes real trust in God to be able to say that. We're usually too close to a relationship to be objective about it. We can't see the other person's serious flaws. Maybe they're a nonbeliever who will never convert and God knows that--but we don't. We're stubborn, thinking we can convince them to accept Jesus as their Savior. If we're seeing someone we know is wrong for us, but no one else seems to be coming along or we think this may be our last chance for marriage, we can ignore the Holy Spirit's promptings. When you're 40 years old and you've dated someone for several years, it's scary to break it off, trusting that God has something better planned for you.
Settling for mediocrity
We find it hard to believe that God has something better for us. We don't have that kind of mountain-moving faith. We secretly hope that God will understand and improve our job or relationship. Sometimes he does. But sometimes he's telling us to move on. We sell ourselves short, and we sell God short too. Nobody wants to give up a sure thing, even when we know it's not right. Trusting that God has something better is risky, daredevil stuff, and we're supposed to be mature and conservative. Or are we? John Ortberg, in his bestselling book, If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, says, As long as my sense of being valuable and significant is tied to my success, it will be a fragile thing. But when I come to know in the marrow of my bones that I am just as valued and loved by God when I have fallen flat on my face, then I am gripped by a love stronger than success or failure. In our superficial, money-and-stuff motivated world, we've become brainwashed to believe that the high-paying job with the corner office, the luxury car, the impressive mansion, and the gorgeous spouse are the ultimate--as good as it can get. But what if God has something better? I live on a modest income. I drive an eight year-old mini-van. I live in a small, five-room house. I don't have a trophy wife; I have no wife at all.
And yet, I feel like one of the most blessed human beings on the face of the earth.
Why is that? It may sound as if I don't have much to be thankful for, but I have God, and all along, he was everything I always wanted--I just didn't recognize it. When I was in my 20s and 30s, if you had told me I could be unmarried but still be happy and contented, I would have gotten very angry. I wouldn't have believed it. Even today, I don't completely understand it, but I have pledged to always tell you the truth on inspiration-for-singles.com, and this is the truth. Sure, there are days when I feel down. Sometimes I feel lonely. I didn't toss away my emotions over the years. But there are never any days that I feel hopeless. It took most of my lifetime to understand that God has something better for us. I hope you'll think about that truth in your own life, starting today.
What are you leaving behind?
God has something better.
When you come to the end of your life, you will either leave behind a trail of trash, or a trail of treasure.
A trail of trash is a string of traded in cars you got tired of. It's abandoned electronic gadgets tossed out with the garbage. Clothes you were once enthralled with now turned into cleaning rags or given away. It's a big pile of stuff you thought would make you happy, but never could. Or will you leave a trail of treasure? Jesus said: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)
Jesus was talking about things like kindness, generosity, compassion, encouragement, service, gentleness, and concern. He was also talking about love, love for other people and for God. If you believe that this earthly life is all there is, then yes, you may give in to the temptation to desperately grab at all the things society says are important. But if you believe that the best is yet to come, you'll be able to find peace and happiness in loving God and living by his Word. We born-again people can't be content with the shallowness this world has to offer. We've had a glimpse of the truth. We know deep in our heart that God's ways are what really matter. We can't settle for second-best.