“What? God doesn’t want the best for me?”
I don’t remember what started the conversation or even what followed. All I remember is when my husband said something that stopped me in my argumentative tracks. He said God’s greatest desire isn’t to see me succeed.
My heart skidded to a stop, a foreboding kind of stop.
“But doesn’t God want the best for me?” Though we were driving, everything seemed to move in slow motion.
My husband kept his eyes on the road and simply replied, “God’s desire is for His glory and what brings Him glory might not be what we think is best.”
Two thoughts went through my head in that moment:
(1) That sounds selfish (of God, not me) and
(2) What does the Bible say?
I quickly worked through the first thought. It’s like saying a King is selfish because he wants to be known as king. That’s not selfish. He is a king. It’s reality. And God, our creator, wants to be above all things, to have no other gods before him. To be the first and the last, not because he hopes we will make him so, but because that is who HE is, and whether or not we recognize it, HIS greatness remains, and the glory is HIS.
This leads me to the second thought. What does the Bible say about this God’s-for-His-glory thing?
It’s nice to think God doesn’t want me to be sick or made fun of or to struggle with my future, but the truth is the stories in the Bible don’t support that kind of thinking. Story after story from Genesis to Revelation shows people who struggled with life. They were ridiculed, had physical ailments, got discouraged. David had to run for his life. Jonah was swallowed by a fish. Jeremiah thrown in a well. Paul imprisoned. Steven stoned. Legend has it all the disciples except for John were martyred. That doesn’t seem like the best thing for a person.
All these stories highlight three things: the greatness of God, the smallness of humanity, and depth of God’s love for us.
One theme that’s repeated over and over in the Bible is how humankind turned from God because He didn’t do what they wanted. They elevated themselves and forgot that Jehovah GOD almighty can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and for whatever reasons he has, and we have no defense. No argument. We are owed no explanation.
I want to believe God wants the best for me, and while I think ultimately that’s true, I have to concede my idea of best and his have been very different. It’s hard to hold on to wanting what he wants when it doesn’t feel so great on my side of things. But there is something that helps, and I’ve found this true in many situations. It’s given me strength when I’ve felt whipped by life and given me hope in the darkest of days. It’s love. God’s deep and real love for me. It’s a game changer. I can trust him through the valley because He loves me.
He is love, and He is God, and that, my dear friends, is the very best thing for us.