Imagine a thirteen year old girl who is incredibly allergic to all things peanut-this includes peanut butter. She goes into anaphylactic shock if she eats it, and it would be very very unwise for her to eat it. Luckily, she is blessed with parents who greatly love her and care for her. Parents who protect her and keep her from harm, danger, and-for this particular girl-peanut butter.
This girl has a few brothers and sisters. And none of them have this dreaded peanut allergy. So they can eat all the PB&J sandwiches they want. During lunch one day, as her mom is making sandwiches for everyone, the little girl is earnestly praying & hoping her mom will give her a sandwich with peanut butter on it. She’s wants this, all the while knowing it would be unwise, harmful, scary, and all together NOT GOOD if she eats it. And she knows her mom is working things for her good by keeping this food from her.
But alas. The plates are set down and for the gazillionith time, she sees a sandwich without the peanut buttery goodness. She gets upset and a little bitter at her mom. It’s HER life. She should be able to eat whatever she wants, regardless of the consequences. It’ll taste yummy RIGHT NOW, and that’s all she cares about.
So I stretched that analogy out a little bit. But there are many times when this scenario has played out between God and me. Obviously, not about peanut butter, but about things I desire-KNOWING they are not for my good, nor for Gods….knowing that they will not bring glory to God. And when he saves me from myself time and time again, instead of being overwhelmed with humbled gratefulness, I can become bitter, upset, and self-pitying. If everyone else gets the peanut butter, why can’t I?
But the Lord is good, to turn my thoughts to him. Even in the midst of my sin, my heart praises him for protecting me from myself, from my flesh, which is still so great within me. It’s not just a coincidence that I’ve never accidentally been given peanut butter. It is the grace and mercy and kindness of my great God. And while I may not feel happy about it, I am full of joy at the care and guarding he provides for my soul.
Romans 8:6-11; 31-32
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you….
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?