I distinctly remember seeing this image during my wrestling with a dilemma that pitted my trust in God’s goodness against the pursuit of one of my deepest desires. Sentiments like the above picture gave me hope along the way, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized that these hopes were misplaced and simply untrue.
I have never been one to opt in to the falsity of the prosperity gospel, but in my desperate heart, my theology was building upon a similar concept that if I just sacrifice enough, maybe God will give me something resembling what I want.
Well, after sacrificing pursuing one of my deepest longings and losing two significant relationships in the past two years, I think I’ve learned something: God does not barter with humanity. Trusting God and sacrificing for Him does not get you a bigger teddy bear.
Still, God’s promises remain.
And thus, my second lesson in grace.
The first lesson was:
God bought me at a high price, and therefore I owe a great debt to grace. There is nothing He cannot reasonably ask of me.
Now, this truth:
God never guarantees a substitute for my sacrifices, but His grace will always provide abundantly more than I can ask or imagine ACCORDING TO HIS PROMISES.
3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
2 Peter 1:3-4
I cannot add on to the promises of God a fulfilling career, a guarantee of marriage, or a stable emotional life — as much as I would like all of those things and more to be true.
Still, there are many promises and truths I can cling to that will never let me down . . . here are just a few of my favorites . . . truths I plan to meditate on in the coming months:
- God will never leave me (Hebrews 13:5-6)
- God knows me better than I even know myself (Psalm 139)
- I have a High Priest who sympathizes with my weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15)
- God weeps with me (John 11:35)
- Nothing can separate me from the love of God – not even myself (Romans 8:38-39)
- All things – even the worst things this life can bring me – will work together for my good in the end (Romans 8:28)
- God will provide ways out of temptation, and the ability to endure (1 Corinthians 10:13)
- God loves me and desires me with an intensity and persistence of passion that no human could ever give (Isaiah 54:5, Ezekiel 16:8, Song 4:9, Hosea 2:19-20)
- God is not ashamed of me (John 8:11)
- God not only loves me. He LIKES me. He delights in me (Zephaniah 3:17)
- God will always come for me, even when I resent and reject him (Matthew 18:12-13, Matthew 15:20)
- I have an eternal home where all my unmet longings will be met and far surpassed in perfect relationship with God and with my brothers and sisters in Christ (John 14:24, John 14:2-3, Revelation 21:3-5)