“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” —Proverbs 16:9
I have been praying for a friend who is experiencing devastating loss as she watches someone she loves slip away. I have observed her journey, trying to uphold her through messages, prayers, and by asking my prayer group to pray for her even though they do not know her. She has gracefully carried on this long, hard struggle, but it has been heart-wrenching to watch her journey. Her solid, undiminished faith is a beam of light for all who know her.
One day, as I was praying and feeling so burdened for the turn of events in her once-admirable life, I heard God whisper. His whisper is loving and gentle, but that day, the impact of His message to me was forceful and deafening—I had to hold my breath. God reminded me that my thoughts about my friend have not always been so sympathetic and admirable.
He whispered: “Robin, remember five years ago? Remember your thoughts about your friend?” The Lord’s whisper to me reminded me that I used to envy this friend’s life. Jealousy is a frightening emotion that a pastor or a missionary would not readily admit and should not inwardly experience. However, God humbled me with His reminder that I was once jealous of my friend who was now going through such a difficult time. Suddenly, irony, destiny, and guilt melded into one emotional explosion as I was struck with the awareness that coveting had slinked into my soul; I was humbled.
God has gifted each of us individually to carry out His design for our lives in order to build His Kingdom—we don’t need to covet the life of another!
How willing are we to carry the life gifted individually to us with dignity and care? How precious and unique are the circumstances God has allowed in our lives? Have we taken advantage of His good gifts, even the painful interruptions, in order to carry out His plan and glorify Him?
The human soul longs for recognition and acceptance as it strives to succeed. On our own, these desires can lead to coveting and jealousy. Yet as Christ-followers, we must place even those natural desires at His feet. Many times, it is with ease that we tend to glance at the lives of those around us. We can covet their victories without understanding their personal struggles. Tragically, often we waste time reviewing the journey of others while ignoring the thousand small but important victories God has won for us. May the Lord forgive us!
Christ’s call to perfection is beautiful and persistent. He calls us out of our heads, our thoughts, and even our natural longings and pulls us toward Him, His desires, and His plans. May it be so.
Robin Brunson Radi along with her husband and children, serves as a Global Missionary for the Church of the Nazarene in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Written for Coffee Break.