Today I listened to a sermon by Carolyn Mahaney called "The Snare of Compare: What to Do with Those Things I Can't Do Anything About" (or something like that).
It was excellent, and I needed to hear it!
She read through and discussed John 21:15-22.
In this passage, Jesus says to Peter when Peter compares himself with John, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (v.22). Wow! What a rebuke! Jesus had just told Peter he was going to die by crucifixion. Instead of sympathy when Peter wonders whether John will experience such a violent fate, Jesus gives Peter a rebuke!
This quote by C.S. Lewis from The Horse and His Boy says it well:
“Child,' said the Lion, 'I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.”
These are good words for us! There are those times we find ourselves asking God things like this:
"Why is her hair always perfect-looking and mine is always so hard to deal with?"
"Why was she able to get pregnant without even trying when I've struggled with infertility for 10 years?"
"Why would you give me a husband who doesn't seem to take initiative in leading his family? Her husband seems like such a good leader..."
"Why are her kids such well-behaved young men who love the Lord? I'm trying my best to raise my sons in the Lord, and they still just don't want to follow Him!"
"Why should I still be single at 37 when she just married at age 21?"
In times like these, Carolyn reminds us that:
"The Lord would rebuke us in the same way He did Peter. He would say to us, 'What is that to you? What I have assigned to her is not your concern.' This is the most loving thing He could say to us. Truly! The Lord will not allow us to live with hearts that are enslaved to comparison, because He loves us! He doesn't want our hearts trapped by the snare of comparison. He wants to set our hearts free! That's why He seeks to free you and me from our fixation with others."
And Jesus gives us a better way—"You follow me," He says.
Instead of looking at others, let's follow the One who is sovereign and will provide all that we need for what He calls us to!