I have been asked this question a couple of times. Even by people closest to me.
Early this morning God gave me the answer.
Ever ordered something in a restaurant and still want to take a bite of someone else’s order?
Ever asked yourself, why didn’t I order that? Why is his/her order better than mine? Why is his/her life better than mine? When in fact I know God?
Going back to the restaurant, I am very guilty of that. Every time Jason and I would eat out, I would often look longingly at his plate, and wish I’d ordered the same thing. Please excuse me, but I’d poke my fork first in his plate before I take a bite of my dish.
My friend, Toneth mentioned that to me earlier about always wanting someone else’s order. In general, we would always look at the other’s plate, we would always want someone else’s life if not a bite of it. Even if we were sure that what we specifically asked for is what we wanted, there goes our envious heart comparing ourselves to others.
Last Sunday I was blessed to hear the message The Lord is My Shepherd by Pastor Peter Tan-Chi. In a nutshell it talks about the relationship between a sheep and its shepherd that is comparable to us and our relationship with God.
Everything about it was really impactful and these three verses I hold dear and which answer the question, Why do good things happen to those who do not even know Him?
1. Psalm 23:1 The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need.
Sheeps are the most dependent of the animals. It often goes astray, finds itself in trouble, and is totally helpless that they cannot eat on their own. Without a shepherd, the sheep will get lost, get eaten by wolves, and die of hunger.
The good shepherd takes care of his sheep. The good shepherd cares deeply for his sheep. He provides his sheep with everything that they need. He feeds his sheep, gives them protection and security.
John shares with us who the good shepherd is – Jesus is the good shepherd.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—”
The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep and protects them with all he can. Jesus is our good shepherd who has laid down his life for us.
If God is our shepherd, we believe that He has given us everything that we will ever need. One thing that struck me last week was from Joy Tan-Chi’s blog about what her mom told her, “There will always be someone more beautiful and smarter (and even richer, wittier, faster, etc.) in this world but God has given you everything you need to do his will and work”.
It is our sinful heart that tends to always look the other way, look at others blessings and be envious of their lives. But with knowing that God is our shepherd, we can be assured that He has given us all that we need. We do not need to look the other way, but look instead deep in our hearts why we are having those feelings of jealousy or envy.
God is my shepherd. He has given me everything that I will ever need. He is my shepherd who has provided for me not only what I need, but so much more than what I originally asked for.
2. Psalm 23:2 He lets me rest in green pastures. He leads me to calm water.
There is a saying that “the grass is greener on the other side”. I heard this phrase a lot of times in high school at the peak of Filipinos migrating to the US, to Canada since the grass is greener there.
Our appetites are insatiable. We will never be contented nor be satisfied with what we have. We will always look at the greener side, the greener pasture, the better offering, the better life. Well who doesn’t want to have a better life? Graze in greener pastures?
But when we know that God is our good shepherd, we know that even if we dislike where we are in – if we feel dead end in our work, our situation, our lives, WE TRUST that this is the greener pasture. God has put us here for a reason, for us to grow to know Him more, for us to love Him more and love the people around us more. It may be difficult and we want out. But the grass can’t get any greener than this place where we are in. We may not understand it now because we feel differently. We feel hopeless sometimes. But we do not let ourselves be ruled by our emotions. We let ourselves be guided by the truth.
And the truth is this: That God loves us. He is our good shepherd. He lets us rest in green pastures. He leads us to calm water. Where we can take our fill and satisfy our thirst.
3. Psalm 23:4 Even if I walk through a very dark valley, I will not be afraid, because you are with me. Your rod and staff protect me.
A sheep with a good shepherd will never fear walking through a very dark valley. Because it knows that the shepherd would ward off the wolves and other threats using his staff. It knows that the shepherd will protect him.
As sheeps would often wander, the shepherd would sometimes use his rod to break off its leg. This is so that the sheep would not wander and endanger themselves to the point of no return. While the leg heals, the shepherd would carry his sheep on his shoulder. And when the sheep heals and is able to walk again, it would then know who the shepherd is and then choose to follow him.
Sometimes in our lives we would often encounter the discipline of God. Sometimes when we would often go astray, find ourselves fallen into temptation, God would discipline us. We would get angry, get hurt, but God assures us of His grace that He would carry us through. Having this encounter, we would then know God more and choose to follow Him.
If we were never broken, who knows what more danger awaits us, what more trouble we could not get ourselves out of. Jesus is the good shepherd who protects us.
Darkness is everywhere and there is always a threat of danger around us. But as Pastor Peter says, “Security is not the absence of danger, it is being in the presence of God” We are assured of safety, we are assured of His presence.
Sometimes when we ask ourselves, why is their life better than mine, ask yourselves again who is God to you? Who is He in your life?
Why look at others when you can look to God who is your shepherd?
We really can’t say and choose who God should bless or not. But instead of having these feelings, I look into the attitude of my heart, find comfort in God and find comfort in His many promises.
God never withholds any good things from those who walk uprightly, who do what is right (Psalm 84:11)
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.