This is a topic that I have personally written about but I also feel like it is so important for us to remember that I wanted to share Heather's take on the topic. Heather is the creator of Proverbs_31Life. I encourage you to view her site here!
I absolutely dislike, maybe even hate, the word “deserve.” I don’t think this word or mindset has any place in the vocabulary of a Christian.
I am trying to be careful here. I am a very black-and-white person as most of you know. Something either is right or it’s not. I don’t have a lot of ‘gray’ areas because I don’t do well with gray. So, my desire is not to be rude, shameful, inconsiderate, unkind, etc. I simply want to help shift your focus.
In general, we live in a very entitled society. Everyone thinks they should be given things for free simply because they exist. This mindset should also not be in the life of a Christian. God calls us to be thankful and giving. Not selfish and entitled.
So, what do we really deserve?
Let’s start with defining this word.
Google says the definition is “do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment).
Mostly we hear or say this when someone is in a trial, such as a health, relational, or financial crisis. Do I want people to endure these things? No, of course not. But to tell someone that they don’t deserve what’s happening to them is just not a true statement. You may feel that they should not have to go through it and you may even wonder why this is happening. Both of those are okay. I would even say that is a natural response.
What have we done to earn a life of ease? There is nothing in Scripture that tells us that we deserve ease, happiness, etc.
There is nothing good about any of us. We need to be clothed in the goodness of God. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10 KJV
There’s nothing righteous about us, apart from God. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6 KJV
We aren’t even saved because we earned or deserve it. We are saved because God loves us and called us to Himself. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV
We deserve Hell and judgment for our sin. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 KJV
You see, if we tell someone that they don’t deserve what they’re going through, that makes sense to them. They will hang on to that. Then someone else comes to tell them about the Lord and how His ways and plans are perfect and the first thing this person thinks is “except for what I’m going through. God isn’t in this.” They don’t trust Him or they become bitter toward Him and blame Him.
Trials are meant to grow us, draw us closer to God, and to grow our faith in Him. They ARE for our good. But telling someone, or ourselves, that we don’t deserve them will not let God’s purpose be accomplished.
We all have things we would rather not deal with. No one asks for a trial.
I would not ask for 2 premature babies, for bedrest and pregnancy complications, for fibromyalgia, for spiritual warfare, for challenges in marriage or parenting. But without those challenges, I would not have experienced God the way I did. We have to learn to trust God, praise Him, and be thankful for the trials. Don’t despise them and try to get over them as fast as possible. They have a purpose. Encourage those around you to do the same.
You can be caring, compassionate, and encouraging to those in trials without telling them that they don’t deserve it.
Pray and ask God for ways to be encouraging and helpful but also honest; for ways to point others to Him in their trials. He is the only One with the answers and true comfort anyway.
His love and care for us is not shaken when trials come. We don’t need to move farther from Him just because we don’t understand.
The opposite is also true. We do not deserve blessings, either. These, too, are from God and come because He loves us and wants to bless us.
I do not deserve to be a published author, to be healthy, to have a wonderful husband, or to be able to encourage anyone. These are all doings of God. We get to experience the goodness of God because He wants us to rember how good He is, how dependent we truly are upon Him, and to be a testimony to others.
Maybe that unexpected blessing is to get you back to being thankful. Or to get you publicly giving God credit so someone else can see it and be reminded of the goodness of God.
Sometimes that trial is the thing that keeps us on our knees, seeking God, surrendering to Him, and desiring Him above all else.
Don’t despise the trials.
Don’t neglect to praise Him.
Stay in the Word, stay close to the Shepherd, and let Him lead you in paths of righteousness.
With Hope in His Service,