On Monday I was supposed to take the boys to a friend's house for a playdate. I was SO looking forward to it, as this is a relatively new friend, and it seems we never can get enough time to talk. So you can imagine my dismay when I woke up early Monday morning with crusty, ouchy eyes. Pinkeye. AWESOME.
My first thought, in my grouchy six a.m. fog, was to be angry. I felt disappointed and resentful. I think it would be slightly melodramatic to be all "Why, God?" on the level of a response to a cancer diagnosis...but I'm not gonna lie, I was exhibiting a milder (and perhaps uglier) "Seriously, Lord? Seriously?"
My next thought was hopeful: Maybe God is making this fall through because He has something better in mind. I don't have my regular Tuesday night prayer with friends tomorrow, so maybe my friend and I can meet for coffee tomorrow night instead (we'd done that on a Tuesday night once before). That would be way better than a playdate today anyway, because we'd get a couple of hours for *uninterrupted* conversation, rather than trying to talk and also parent five small children!
I called my friend, and she agreed that she didn't really want me and my pinkeye at her house. And, as it turned out, we were in fact able to get together on Tuesday night instead. Toward the end of our time together, after about three wonderful hours of really great heart-level conversation on various topics, I was sharing all the above. My main question was, "Why am I so quick to assume the worst of God? Why am I so quick to assign negative intent, to jump to the conclusion that He is stingy, that He doesn't want to give me good gifts, etc.?"
But my friend nailed me with a more fundamental issue. As I replayed the scene of Monday morning, expressing my thought, "Maybe God has something better in store," she interrupted me: "He did."
No "maybe" about it. "He did, definitely, have something better in mind." For a split second, I assumed she was referring to the time we'd just shared that had proven the fact, thinking as I was: "He *did* have something better in store, because here we sit and tonight has been such a blessing!" But she pressed: "He definitely did have something better in mind--EVEN IF this hadn't worked out. What He brings is always best."
My reaction in the moment of being denied something I wanted revealed my heart. Sadly, it exposed unbelief and idolatry there: "God doesn't really love me, isn't really good, doesn't really want to give me good things." The original lie.
Worse, my idolatrous heart thought that the answer to that lie was God's providing what I wanted. He was vindicated in my mind when He gave me something that clearly, from my perspective, was better--a coffee date instead of a playdate. He is kind and gentle to do this sometimes in spite of me--but my friend's admonition was needed. His love and His goodness, the gospel truths that He is for me and gives me all things pertaining to life and godliness, mean that what He gives is best. However it looks to my limited perspective, these circumstances are best. If my plans fall through, it is always, always because He has something better in mind.
Funny thing, in the middle of writing this post I got distracted and popped over to look at Twitter. Scotty Smith's most recent tweet pretty well sums it up:
Related ("Other Times I Have Preached This Same Truth to Myself"):