“That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times.” (Romans 8:18 MSG)
In this day and age as we are coming to terms with being perfectly imperfect, the word comparison is a nasty word. But let’s consider the moments in our lives when comparison is healthy. For instance, comparing fruits and vegetables guarantees that the freshest produce will be purchased, and when we compare prices and the condition of things like houses and cars we are being good stewards of our money. Comparison in and of it’s self isn’t bad. It becomes toxic when we go from comparing THINGS to comparing ourselves and our circumstances to those around us.
Comparison leads us down a very dark and dangerous path, because comparison is a robber of joy. Joy is our strength and without joy, how will we carry on? How can we look forward to a future with hope if we do not have the strength to lift our heads? How can we have grateful hearts if we can not see where we have come from or what we have come out of?
In the Bible the Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt, ruled by Pharaoh, who murdered their babies and toddlers. After suffering plagues and a visit from the death angle the Egyptians begged the Israelites to leave and even gave them their riches as they exited the land.
I know their time in the wilderness wasn’t pleasant, I’m not making light of what they endured or the danger they were in, but there in the wilderness, God provided them with everything they needed. Their shoes didn’t wear out, they had water to drink and manna from heaven. He protected them as pillar of fire at night and He covered them with His glory cloud by day. Surrounding nations cowered in fear of them because of the Lord God.
Rather than be thankful and to look in awe at the miracles they saw daily, they complained and focused on their current surroundings. They began to compare where they WHERE in the wilderness as FREE people to where they came FROM as SLAVES. Several times, they said that Egypt was better, forgetting the turmoil and grief they had experienced while living there. Eventually God got tired of their complaining and declared anyone twenty years and older wouldn’t see Canaan, to be honest, I don’t blame Him, but the biggest take take away I get from this is that comparison robbed them of their future and their blessing.
When we focus so much on where we came from and compare it with our current circumstances or the lives of those around us, we are robbing ourselves of what God has in store for us. I experienced this personally when we moved from Ohio to Louisiana. I was constantly comparing where I came from to where I was. Comparison imprisoned me for two and half years in depression, anger, loneliness and friendlessness. One day I heard the Holy Spirit say “Enough. I have been more than gracious. Stop it. You are not growing and maturing spiritually, mentally, in relationships with others or your family because you are constantly comparing where you came from to where I brought you. If you want to be used by me you have to stop comparing one place with the other.”
I am so thankful for that stern and truthful word from the Lord, when I stopped the comparison I ended up with some of the sweetest moments in my life and I gained some of the richest and deepest friendships I have ever had. I grew as a mom, a wife and a woman. I matured spiritually, emotionally and mentally. Our family flourished and we were able to serve our community, we grew leaps and bounds, but if I had continued to compare where I had come from to where I was, I know that none of the moments, none of the growth and none of my friendships would have happened.
Recap: When we compare ourselves and circumstances to others we are robbed of our joy, strength and gratitude. When we compare, we will miss out on the the blessings and the places that God has prepared for us.
Challenge: Where are you currently? Maybe it’s not where you want to be in the moment, but you have been brought from somewhere or something and that needs to be left behind. Keep your eyes fixed on where God is taking you.