People mean well.
And the inspirational memes on Pinterest mean well.
It is a common sentiment.
It is often said to me that, because I have been through and am going through so much hardship, that it’s because a bigger blessing is coming–something spectacular is on its way.
I’ve been told this for four years. And I always respond the same way.
The “good” in Romans 8:28 is found in Romans 8:29. God works all things together so that believers might be conformed into the image of Christ. Therefore, yes, I will be blessed as a result of my suffering. But, no, it will not (necessarily) be what is often meant by a blessing.
Walking through this breakup, people have told me that it is all to prepare me for someone better. As if some “perfect” man is waiting just around the corner to sweep me off my feet, wipe away the tears from eyes, and to whisk me away, causing me to forget that my heart was ever broken.
I appreciate the sentiment.
But I disagree with it.
If 2017 is harder than 2016 and 2015 and 2014…that is my blessing. Because, in some (painful) way, the Lord is conforming me into the image of Christ. If I know Jesus more and I am more like Jesus at the end of 2017, then I have received a great blessing for my suffering.
Honestly, that is a hard pill to swallow at times. I believe that is because I, so often, have a far too high view of man and so low view of God. I think far too highly of myself and, somewhere inside of me, I feel entitled. I feel as though God owes me for allowing me to go through so much pain. But God owes me nothing. He doesn’t owe me perfect health because I have suffered for 2 1/2 years. And He does not owe me a boyfriend because He is allowing me to suffer through this painful breakup. He doesn’t owe me anything. But He has given me everything in Christ.
I know people mean well. However, it is not encouraging to hear that something “huge” is waiting for me around the corner. My something “huge” might be more hardship. It might be a really tough final semester of grad school. It might be unemployment or a cancer diagnosis. As far as relationships, it might be years more, or a lifetime of singleness.
God is committed to my holiness. He is committed to making me more like Jesus. For me, that has meant extremely painful years. And it will likely mean many more. I am not promised health, wealth, and prosperity because I have suffered. God’s Word never promises that. I am not promised a better boyfriend who will cherish me and love me because I have suffered. God’s Word never promises that.
But He promises Himself–His presence. With me until the very end. Never forsaken. Holding my hand. Crawling along with me. Offering me His strength. Loving me perfectly through the pain. Then me with Him forever. He promises a day when there will be no more pain. There will be no bodies riddled with illness. There will be no more broken hearts. This light and momentary affliction is achieving for us an eternal weight of glory that far outweighs them all.
I am not saying there will not be joy. There will be joy. In His presence is fullness of joy. There will be so much joy, even in the ashes.
But God doesn’t owe me anything.
God doesn’t owe me a boyfriend.