When I’ve had a hard day, I feel entitled to a night of vegging out in front of the television. And regardless of how bad my day is or was I feel entitled to a latte break at least once during the day. I feel entitled to an uninterrupted night of sleep—something I’ve been spoiled with since my youngest was about 8 months old. (That means that for more than 13 years I’ve been enjoying nights of uninterrupted sleep, give or take a night or two). When I go to the store, I feel entitled to a polite acknowledgement from the cashier and when I don’t get it, I feel mistreated. Honestly, I feel entitled to many good things in life—health, financial security, fairness, ease, success, pleasure, answers to my prayers, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
You might say that you don’t feel entitled to good things. (After all, “entitled” is such a harsh word!) You might want to say that you hope for good things, but don’t feel angry when you don’t get them. If that’s the case for you, then you are better than I am, because I find myself very often getting angry when I don’t get what I want or feel entitled to. I want to change this—to be more like Christ and deny myself. But at the moment, I’m too much like Beth Steffaniak and not enough like Jesus.
Job, a famous man written about in the Old Testament, was allowed by God to be stricken with just about every tragedy that could befall a person. Yet he didn’t feel entitled to anything. Nope, natta, zilch, none! In fact, he went so far as to say,
“Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” Job 2:10b (NLT)
The reason Job could say this was because he knew God. He knew God loved him beyond comprehension. He knew God was faithful, even when it didn’t seem that way in the dark moment he was facing. He knew God would always bring about “good” for him out of the “bad.”
If we firmly believe in God’s goodness and love for us, wouldn’t we join with Job in accepting the bad in our lives without question? If we did:
• We wouldn’t be afraid when what we want does not come our way.
• We wouldn’t be angry when we lose someone or something precious to us.
Because we would know that God never puts us or others through pain without a good purpose.
I want to be so firmly convinced of God’s love and goodness that what I have or don’t have pales in comparison to Him. I want to be more concerned about knowing and loving God than whether I get what I want. It is hard—agonizingly hard to let go of my self-centered desires. But if I want to truly experience God on a level beyond what this earth can provide, then I must.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)