Ashley Sutter- 2016
Philippians 2:5-8 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
“The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.” -Elisabeth Elliot
“SAME! Same! Same! I want the same!” I’ve noticed something with my children. When I’m handing out drinks or snacks or toys as of late, they both communicate that they want “the same” as their sibling.
Recently I was prepping a sippy cup of milk for my toddler. When my preschooler saw that she was without, she tugged on my shirt hem and asked for a drink. Knowing she had a head cold, I reached for the orange juice. My intent was to give her an extra boost of Vitamin C to help fight off the sniffles. I poured the juice into a “big girl cup.” I put the cup of juice on the table so she could drink. Thinking she would respond with a big smile to have her favorite pink cup full of a sweet beverage, I called her over to the table. Seeing what I gave her, she collapsed to the floor and and through hot, angry tears rolling down her cheeks managed to say “but I wanted the SAME!”
My children are young and immature. Unable to see the full picture, they need their parents to guide them and give them the best things. Typically, they’re mindful of our “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” attitude we try to build into them but that desire for what the other has disrupts our cheerful days. Often, when they want “the same” it makes me chuckle and I think to myself “why would you want that toy? That’s a baby toy!” or “but you’re a little boy! You don’t really want to wear pink rain boots like your sister!”
During one of these more serious episodes, as I was consoling my 4 year old and trying to teach her how ridiculous it would be if I gave her the same as her younger brother, I felt the Holy Spirit impress on my heart: You do this too. In your flawed thinking you shake your fist at God and demand the same as what you see others getting. Yet, you do not watch from your Heavenly Father’s eternal perspective. You do not see that what I have given you is for your best. I suspect I’m not alone.
Whether our problem is we’re longing for the proverbial greener grass on the other side of the fence or we are in the midst of the worst suffering we have known; we have a straightforward choice before us. Our finite thinking can render us like angry toddlers demanding of our loving parents for what we think is best when it really is not. Or we can be obedient like Jesus, trusting in a God is good, sovereign and faithful.
There is a painting by the artist James Tissot titled “What Our Lord Saw from the Cross.” It is considered ground-breaking because “its point is to give viewers, accustomed to looking at the event from the outside, a rare opportunity to imagine themselves in Christ’s place and consider his final thoughts and feelings as he gazed on the enemies and friends who were witnessing, or participating in, his death.”
I imagine Christ could have focused on someone in the crowd who was in that moment free from not just physical suffering, but who also did not have to carry the burden of mankind’s sin. He could have looked up at the heavens and cried out “I want the same as that man!” Yet he humbled himself, even to the point of death, because he trusted in the plans of our Heavenly Father which would bring forth the hope and salvation for us.
We might not see the definite plan for our lives until our faith becomes sight. Until then, we may be free from the folly of making finite, futile demands of an eternal and glorious Father and simply trust and obey.