Tuesday, December 6

Greener Grass

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters. --Psalm 23:2

"The grass is always greener on the other side..." so the saying goes. Many of us play the comparison game, looking at the lives of the people around us and wondering why God permits some things and disallows others. Jealousy, envy and self-pity abound when we find ourselves feeding our discontented thoughts. We allow our emotions to determine the basis of our self-worth rather than realizing and accepting that God's plan is not the same for everyone. In all likelihood, even if we were to be given that which we feel we are entitled to, we still wouldn't be completely satisfied or happy.

God does not desire that any of us compare ourselves to others. No matter what stage of life we are in, if we are following God earnestly and whole-heartedly, we are completely within His plan. Finding peace and contentment in our present situations can be a difficult thing. It starts by training our eyes to look heavenward, rather than be distracted by the things of this earth.

Whenever I'm struggling with envy or an overblown sense of entitlement, I remind myself that every good and perfect gift comes from above. God's blessings are measured qualitatively, not quantitatively. The life I live may be quite different in many respects from the lives my friends are living, but that doesn't mean that they have gotten a better deal, or that I have been handed the short end of the stick. Everything that God has ordained for me is exactly as it should be.

I would imagine that Mary and Joseph were envious of their friends who got to experience an uneventful betrothal. It couldn't have been easy for Joseph to be engaged to a woman who, as far as appearance was concerned, seemed to be unfaithful to him. It couldn't have been easy for Mary to undergo the public scrutiny and shame of being an unwed mother and having people not believe her explanation. However, we know that all the conditions of the Christmas story and the events leading up to Christ's birth were exactly as they should be. Even so, I bet the young couple was eager to find a patch of greener grass.

The same God of Mary and Joseph, God the Father of Christ Jesus, is our shepherd. The greener grass we seek is found when we rest in Him. He leads us where we need to be, even if the road to get there is unpleasant. No matter where He takes us, we need to be ever mindful that He leads each of us individually. He has my own special custom-landscaped bit of green grass picked out for me. I have to keep trusting Him to get me there.

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