Emotional Baggage – Part 4
This week we talked about when I feel that God owes me. This usually shows up when we feel that God has taken something away from us: someone we love dies, we get injured and have permanent damage, we lose a job, etc. Something we had but now we don’t and we feel that God took this from us and needs to give it back. It also comes in the form of being jealous of what someone has and feeling that you deserve it. I define jealousy as feeling as if you deserve what someone has and see someone as the villain. We can be jealous of someone’s wealth, possessions, talent, skills, etc. Andy Stanley points out in his book Enemies of the Heart that our problem in not with others but with God.
In Genesis Jacob falls in love with Rachel. She is beautiful. The Bible says “there was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and a lovely face. (Gen 29:17 NLT)”. My translation is that Leah was ugly but Rachel was a model. You can imagine what that must have been like as sisters. Jacob works 7 years to marry Rachel but his father-in-law switches out the bride and he marries Leah instead. He works another 7 to get Rachel. Two wives are never portrayed positive in the Bible and when your wives are sisters look out. Not only sisters but an ugly and beautiful sister. I wonder who Jacob wanted to be with more? Jacob loved Rachel more but Leah was the sister that could have children. This was huge in those days and Leah finally had something to hold over Rachel. Leah was probably praised by the family, she probably rubbed it in, and Rachel was jealous.
When Rachel saw that she wasn’t having any children for Jacob, she became jealous of her sister. She pleaded with Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Then Jacob became furious with Rachel. “Am I God?” he asked. “He’s the one who has kept you from having children!” (Gen 30:1-2 NLT) Jacob nailed it. Rachel’s jealousy was rooted in the fact that she believed that God owed her children. She blamed Jacob but the person she was mad at was God.
I don’t know if you have ever been mad at God. I have met several people who were. It is a heavy bag to carry around. They can’t talk to God, worship him, or have anything to do with him. They can’t believe and understand that God is so cruel to take or deprive them of something they value. I can see this. I have seen teens die, youth mothers left widowed, etc. I have seen people in poverty while others inherit millions. Life often seems so unfair.
So how do we deal with feeling like God owed us? This probably depends on what we feel we are owed. I never like over simplifying things and the deeper the hurt and pain the harder to let go of our anger or resentment. But I would start by saying we need to trust God. We need to trust that he has our best interest at heart and that no matter what happens in life he still cares and loves us. Psalms 139 is a beautiful. “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! (Psa 139:17-18 NLT)” God loves you, cares for you, and thinks about you all the time. God never promised you a life that would be fair or free of troubles. Why didn’t God prevent something tragic from happening? I don’t know. But I believe that God loves me and just because he allowed something to happen doesn’t change that.
God gives us all gifts. Some are more valued in our world. But sometimes we need to quit focusing on what we do have and not on what we wish we had. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul talks about this when it comes to spiritual gifts but we could apply it to every area of life. Some of us spend our life wishing we had what others have while simply neglecting what God gave us.