Over three years ago, Mom read about an exercise program that sounded great. Many people reported stellar results, it only took half an hour a day, and the whole family could do it together. So Mom ordered the DVD, and we enthusiastically dove in.
No doubt about it, this was a workout; it left us covered in perspiration. For the basis of all the moves, we held an unusual position, but the instructor stressed the importance of this to prevent injury. Wow, was she right!
We did our best, but due to my mother’s complicated health issues, we dropped the program within two weeks. Several more weeks passed before I noticed something odd in my lower back. Turns out, I had developed a knotted muscle.
To make a long story short: after three years, it’s still there. A couple times the pain has been severe enough to bring me to the floor. Most of the time it lies dormant, flaring up when I least expect it, sometimes keeping me awake at night, and interfering with my activities. The respites between flare-ups are longer now, and the pain has grown much less intense. But despite multiple chiropractic treatments, the chiropractor tells me my back will always be weak in that spot.
I was eighteen when it started, way too young for an injury that will haunt my whole life. I wish I’d never heard of that exercise program.
And sometimes I’ve caught myself thinking, I don’t deserve this.
We hear a lot these days about “our rights” and what “we deserve.”
- We deserve the best.
- We deserve to do what we want with our lives.
- We deserve lots of money and nice things.
- We deserve to define who we are.
The list goes on: I’m sure you’ve heard it.
The dictionary defines deserve as, “to be worthy of: to merit.” And according to the Bible, we actually get far less than we’re worthy of.
We are worthy of hell.
Just to give us a working definition, hell is eternal torment and eternal separation from God. It only takes one sin to send us there. Take a peek at these Bible verses:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV).
The fact is we’ve all done wrong.
“For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23 ESV).
Wages are what you get paid for your work; it’s what you fairly earned.
“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22 ESV).
Clearly, only my death could have paid for my sin.
But I don’t have to get what I deserve. Jesus embraced a horrible death that He certainly didn’t deserve so that He could justly give me eternal life. I love the rest of Romans 6:23:
“but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So, come to think of it, I really don’t want what I deserve.
I don’t want my wages. I want the gift.
This glorious gift of life in Christ, peace with God, and love from my Creator is way better than anything else I could ever desire. God is lavish with His gifts. He doesn’t hold back, eying me to see if I’m behaving well enough to merit His blessing. He just gives.
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NKJV)
In truth, I deserve absolutely nothing good. But Jesus died to rescue me from what I deserved. And besides the wonderful gift of salvation, God has showered me with countless other blessings. When I remember that, it makes the hard things ever so much smaller and easier to bear. Honestly, I still haven’t passed this class with honors. But surely with Christ’s strength, I can bear anything and do anything for the One who died to wash me clean.
So, yes, I am going to keep praying that God will heal me completely. Yet even if He says, “No,” I will choose to rejoice and be grateful for all God’s wonderful goodness. When He has been so good, how can I doubt His love just because He withholds something?
And who knows? Maybe even my sore back is a good thing in disguise.
Do you ever think you get more bad things than you deserve?
Does it sometimes seem like God isn’t being fair with His gifts?
Could a new perspective make a difference in the way you view your life?
I would absolutely love to read your thoughts in the comments!