SEE ‘WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN’ AND APPRECIATE ‘WHAT IS’

KNOWING ‘WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN’ MAKES US APPRECIATE ‘WHAT IS’

You know, one thing I have realized from talking with those who have yet to put their faith in Jesus, is the fact that Jesus said it best when He said,

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Mark 2:17

Speaking as an atheist for a moment, religion is for the hopeless; because it makes those who are hopeless, hopeful. Religion is really not for all those who feel that they have it all together and think that they can hold it all together. Indeed,

“Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.” Matthew 13:11

For “God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

So a caveat before I begin. Come only if you know that there are things that are beyond your control. Come only if you know that you have led an imperfect life. Come only if you know that no matter how hard you try, perfection is beyond your reach. For when you are these things, then you will have no problems humbling yourself before God. And humble ourselves we should, for

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10

The reason why I placed that caveat today is because not everyone can deal with their own imperfections. And if we don’t realize that we are imperfect, then we will have a hard time dealing with the difficult seasons in our lives.

Think about it. To the man who thinks he has been perfect, hard times are unjust. He will feel that God is unfairly punishing him for things that he did not do; because he fails to see that the tough times that he is going through are really the result of his own decisions, the consequence of the choices that he made. And so, the season has not yet come for his eyes to see and his ears to hear.

But for those of us who realize that we can get too hot-headed sometimes and act rashly; for those of us who know that there are certain temptations that we find difficult to run from; for us we see the consequence of our actions; and surprisingly, when we do, we realize that life is not as bad as we thought it would be.

Let me illustrate by showing you what should have been.

“You turn man to destruction,
And say, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.
You carry them away like a flood;
They are like a sleep.
In the morning they are like grass which grows up:
In the morning it flourishes and grows up;
In the evening it is cut down and withers.” Psalm 90:3-6

Now, this Psalm was recorded as a prayer of Moses. And we all know what Moses was famous for; the Exodus, the Ten Commandments, the parting of the Red Sea, and the manna in the desert. Those were some properly tumultuous times in the history of Israel, and God certainly did come across as being pretty mean. In Leviticus 26 alone, while there were but 11 verses of blessing for obedience, there followed 27 verses of curses for disobedience; and here are some highlights.

“I also will do this to you:
I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart.
And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies.
Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you.” Leviticus 26:16-17

“And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.” Leviticus 26:18

“Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins.” Leviticus 26:21

“And if by these things you are not reformed by Me, but walk contrary to Me,
then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins.” Leviticus 26:23-24

“And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me,
then I also will walk contrary to you in fury;
and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.” Leviticus 26:27-28

And all this because the children of Israel said,

“Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Exodus 19:8

“All the people spoke at the same time and said, “We will obey everything the Lord says.” Exodus 19:8[GW]

They figured that they could be perfect by their own strength; but in reality, they broke each and every one of God’s laws, beginning with the very first one;

“You shall have no other gods before Me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Exodus 20:3-6

When they did this.

“Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”” Exodus 32:1

Not very perfect, were they? So we can see why Moses would say things like this.

“For we have been consumed by Your anger,
And by Your wrath we are terrified.
You have set our iniquities before You,
Our secret sins in the light of Your countenance.
For all our days have passed away in Your wrath;
We finish our years like a sigh.
The days of our lives are seventy years;
And if by reason of strength they are eighty years,
Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow;
For it is soon cut off, and we fly away.
Who knows the power of Your anger?
For as the fear of You, so is Your wrath.” Psalm 90:7-11

Now, take a long good look at your life. Is it anything like that? What you have just seen is the ‘what should have been’ for your life. But is your life really like this?

“…You keep track of all our sins; every misdeed
since we were children is entered in your books.
All we can remember is that frown on your face.
Is that all we’re ever going to get?...” Psalm 90:3-11 [MSG]

Is your life only filled with nothing but sorrow? Is there no joy or celebration?

Indeed, beloved child of God, Moses gives us sound advice here.

“So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

When we number our days, when we look upon them in humble reflection, we realize what should have been. We realize that we should have been more broke than we are now from the way that we live our lives; or suffering more ailments than we are now from the way we disregard our diet and abuse our bodies, for example. Yet, we are not, are we? Though things be not perfect, yet they are not dire. And why is that?

Wycliffe translates this verse thus.

“Make thy right hand so known; and make men learned in heart by wisdom. (Make thy right hand, or thy power, known to us/Teach us that our days be short; and so make people learned in their hearts with thy wisdom.)” Psalm 90:12 [WYC]

And what does God use His right hand, or His power, to do?

“You have given a banner to those who fear You,
That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah
That Your beloved may be delivered,
Save with Your right hand, and hear me.” Psalm 60:4-5

Our Father uses His right hand to save.

You know beloved, it’s scarce comfort to hear someone say, ‘It could have been worse’. But that’s the reality that we are facing. Take a good long look again at your life and imagine it without all the supports that are in place. Take away your loving spouse if you have one, or the understanding boss if there is one. Take away the years of savings which you never understood why you bothered to set aside, or the favor from your clients and customers which you can’t understand why they came. Then look at your life again. Worse isn’t it?

No, I’m not making light of your situation. But it is only when we acknowledge just how bad it could have been, how bad it should have been; only then can we see our Father’s mighty right hand at work in protecting us and providing for us. For you see, even at the end of Leviticus 26, our Father says,

“Yet for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, nor shall I abhor them, to utterly destroy them and break My covenant with them;
for I am the Lord their God.
But for their sake I will remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, that I might be their God:
I am the Lord.’”” Leviticus 26:44-45

So then how much more does our Father NOT want to punish us now that

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

Because of Jesus, ‘bad times’ are not ‘good times’ gone bad; they are ‘worse times’ gone good. No matter what you have or have not done, in our Father’s bosom beats a heart full of love for you. All you need to do is believe it.

So see each day for what it should have been, then realize just how good our Father really is to you.

Like our messages?

Sign up to get our messages delivered daily.

Social Media Policy Privacy Policy Disclaimer Terms of Use