I am one of the most fortunate human beings on this planet. Those words are not said while bragging, I’m very humbled by God’s love for me. I did absolutely nothing to deserve His many gifts and I have wept joyful tears today in thanksgiving. And yet, I don’t deserve it. I deserve absolutely nothing.
I Don’t Deserve It: Our Children
My two oldest children, ages 6 and 5, just brought me a dessert while I sat working on my computer. This is not your ordinary dessert, it was more or less a concoction of something unrecognizable, but it was a true gift of the heart. “Mom, do you hear that noise? (I hear utensils clinking in the background) We are making you a dessert snack for you to enjoy! Wait here.” As I watched his little feet scurry into the kitchen my eyes filled with tears and I thanked God for my children and their love for me.
I don’t deserve their love, my children’s, I did nothing at all to deserve it.
I work tirelessly for their benefit and I make the best of some difficult situations, but that is my duty as a Christian, as Daughter of Christ, I am to work for the good of others, but nowhere in the bible does it say, “Do all this, and you will earn their love”. It isn’t there, because that’s not what life is about…
I Don’t Deserve It: My Husband
In more recent events, I’ve been struggling with the idea of not even deserving my husband’s “love and respect”. Wait, what?! I surely expect my husband to love me and respect me, but I don’t deserve his “Thanks for dinner” or flowers and gifts, not even a helping hand when I’m struggling.
While I’m working tirelessly for our children, I’m also powering through the hardships for my husband’s well-being too. It seems incredibly unfair to do all this work without deserving any sort of reward, doesn’t it? I think this is why I struggle with it so much. I don’t like it when things aren’t handled fairly.
I’m learning that life is about much more than the return on my investments. Life is rarely about the things I want or think I “deserve”. How many loving couples long for a baby but just can’t conceive? Why don’t their efforts allow them to deserve their desires? It’s a major disappointment and my friend Meredith has an article about dealing with disappointments I’m sure you’ll want to read. It’s very appropriate for the conversation.
I Don’t Deserve It: God Almighty
You and I and the rest of the world deserve nothing from the Lord. It doesn’t matter how often we pray, or how developed our relationship with God might be, or even the amount of time we spend devoted to Him completely. It doesn’t matter… we don’t deserve anything from God.
I look to the Saints’ lives to help me understand this concept better. So many struggles, and yet so much faith. So many men and women suffered greatly (as in much more than I) and had the most unconditional love for God, His world, His people, His way.
(If you don’t believe in the Catholic honoring of Saints I still welcome you to listen further. While we Catholics may say “Saints”, they’re still just real people who lived and died before us. They have real struggles, and real love for Christ. They have very relatable lives.)
St. Gianna Molla – St. Gianna gave her life for her unborn child. She was a doctor and was diagnosed with Cancer while pregnant. That is truly giving yourself to another without expectations.
St. Terese of Lisieux – Suffered many debilitating illnesses in her short life She became a nun and many of her fellow sisters ridiculed her for trying to be too holy, for being insincere in her goodness. She was worked harder than most, despite her frailty, to “whip” her into shape.
St. Mary – I have great love for Mary because she endured the great pain of watching her only son crucified and STILL believed in God’s power and endless blessings.
St. Rita – was abused by her husband and prayed for her sons’ deaths to save them from the sin of murder.
Let’s take a moment to think about why we enter into any relationship. Why do/did you desire for marriage? Do you enter into that union to get what you want, or to love the other person freely? While marriage is not a fairy tale and there should be give and take in order for married couples to live in harmony, there isn’t a handbook. There are no written rules stating, if I do A, then B should take place accordingly.
When I had a desire for children, I only had the thought of my heart being filled with love for someone no matter what that child would do. I remember envisioning drying their tears, teaching them walk, feeding them, and more. That little joyful thought escalated into a slew of chores and early mornings I sometimes dread. No one knows how difficult it is to think of breakfast, lunch, and dinner for kids and a husband from here to eternity, quite like a Mother. But again, we are here to serve, and there’s a beauty in serving others that could be lost in the shuffle of everyday, if we don’t stop and think on it.
The same can be said for our relationship with God. We can’t look at prayer as the “way” to get what we want. Simply asking God to bless you doesn’t mean He will or should. If we do everything we know how to do, and we are still left wanting, it may be God’s gentle (or not so gentle) way of saying “No.” Because sometimes the answer to our prayers is, indeed, “No.”
Do We Deserve God’s Heaven?
The short answer is No. It wouldn’t matter if you did everything right in the world and never sinned, we STILL wouldn’t deserve heaven. God gives to those he desires to give. I will choose to offer up my works and sufferings in the hopes God will see me as a person worthy enough to enter, but I certainly don’t deserve heaven if He chooses to give it to me.
Oh the dessert concoction? It wasn’t bad. It was milk, squashed bananas, and peanut butter. They were SO proud.