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Pointers along the way #506

What is that to you?
- Jacob Ninan

When Jesus told Peter about what he would do in his old age and how he would die (Jn.21:18,19), Peter wondered how it would be for John (v.21). Jesus' reply was a mixture of humour and rebuke, saying that it wasn't Peter's concern how He dealt with John (v.22).

One problem we face is our mental struggle when others seem to do things differently from us, and yet God seems to bless them and use them! The psalmist Asaph had a problem when he saw wicked people prospering (Ps.73). According to the common understanding of God in those days, evil people had to suffer, and good people should be the only ones to prosper. And so what Asaph saw was inexplicable in his own mind. Perhaps if we are going through financial struggles that may precipitate such questions.

It may be that we have made many sacrifices for God and then we see others who are not like that serving God with His blessings! "That's not fair!" we think. Perhaps we have given up doing certain things because of convictions, and we find others who are doing all those things still enjoying life. Or we have learned through experience how certain things should be done and then we can't accept the fact that God still blesses and uses others who are doing things differently. Perhaps we think God has revealed to us some truths and wonder how He can use those who interpret these same truths differently.

All this shows we need to know God more. In order to understand God, try to look at the world and the people in it from God's point of view. Do we see the immense diversity He finds among us in terms of personality, family upbringing, experience, intellectual capacity, social and cultural background, etc.? When we come to Him in faith should He neutralise all these differences at once and make us uniform?

He doesn't do that. He knows every detail of our lives, what we are, what we can and can't do, what we know, etc., and plans our education according to these factors. He makes allowance for our lacks. Obviously my training programme will be different from yours. Yet it is the same God who is working in both of us, even though differently at different times. He doesn't force us to fit into some uniform mould, but He is most patient with each of us, taking us further at no greater pace than we can manage.

And so we find ourselves looking at others and wondering how they can be like that or do things like this! What we need to do is to be sensitive to what God is doing in our own lives -- customised according to our special needs -- and leave the others to God to do with them according to His plan for them and at their own pace. We may be more or less mature than others. They and we may be in different classes in life's school. Even when God asks us to give inputs to some others, we need to recognise that it is not certain they look at those things in the same way as we; their response may be different.

Humility is what can help us when we think about other people.


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