We are facing another year in which Boyo may not have full time work. The building industry here is still very, very quiet and while Boyo has been filling a needed role over summer, he will almost certainly be surplus to requirements come the end of January. Certainly not Plan A on our agenda. But there is another option before us. He could return to study and complete a Diploma in Engineering. This is actually something he has been wanting to do for years, and probably should have done right back when we met and married nine years ago. It’s brand new to our Polytechnic this coming year, and having the qualification would certainly improve Boyo’s chances of getting back into the Civil field. The issue is money (when is it not?!). I’ve stopped working. I needed to stop working (I really, really, really needed to stop working!). But that means we would now have a considerable shortfall should he study next year. So I’ve been talking with God about that. About how I can’t take on a whole lot of work on top of being Munchkin’s mum and studying thirty hours a week. About how Boyo is already working a fifteen hour shift right through the night. About how while we can shave things off our budget, we can’t shave THAT much. It’s not that I don’t want Boyo to get his DE. I really do. It’s that I don’t want both of us studying at the same time again, trying to juggle two study loads, assignment due dates, exams, and work around a young boy who needs his parents’ attention. Last year was incredibly difficult. Incredibly. I really don’t want a repeat. No way. Please, no way. I don’t want another year where we can’t go away for a weekend (like the first half of this year) because we have either work or study six days of the week that we can’t cancel or move.
This whole dilemma has brought up some interesting thoughts.
We are surrounded by supportive family and friends who are all cheering us on, and this is an incredible blessing. I am so very glad to live where we do, and know the people that we do. I wouldn’t want it any other way. But there’s one response I find myself wishing people wouldn’t use. Very well-meaning and I’ll bet that I’ve said the exact same thing on countless occasions without realising just what I’ve been saying. It’s that being in the middle of this ‘less than ideal’ situation has made me second-guess.
“God’s got something better.”
Okay, so here’s the thing. Sometimes He doesn’t. Now I know that really stuffs with our Christianees philosophies of an all loving God, intent on blessing the socks off us. But my reality, at least, is that God does not always have something better and I really wish people would stop saying that.
How could he have something better than giving you the baby you have always longed for? How could going through years of infertility be “better?” How is unemployment “better” than that amazing job opportunity you ‘just’ missed out on? How is losing a loved one “better” than getting to grow old with them? Sometimes God’s route simply isn’t what I’d consider better. It just isn’t.
The issue is the difference in our perspective. He says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, they are very, very different.” He looks at the heart, while I often look at the surface of the matter, avoiding the deeper workings of the soul.
So I guess it’s not that he DOESN”T have something better. It’s that I might not THINK it is. I might even think that it sucks. Had a few of those the past few years.
God’s better and my better are often not the same thing. He says, “This route is better.” And I have a paddy. Because really, I don’t want the rocky, winding route. I want that one over there that looks nice and lush and easy. But he sees things I can’t see. Hidden pitfalls. What is around that corner there. And he’s looking for things I often dismiss as unimportant. I’m all for feeling comfortable and successful. God is much more interested in my character. And training, preparation, and obedience. Honesty. Kindness. Being in the ‘right place at the right time’ for someone else. Because of some of the things I’ve walked through, I’ve been able to be there for friends. And that is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t make the experience easy and to be honest, sometimes I don’t even feel like it made it worth it. But maybe for the other person, my friend, it does. Maybe they needed someone there who knows what it feels like to walk the path they face, even just a little.
I think sometimes God is standing there saying, “But this one is better for you.” Notice? Not that it is just better. But that it is BETTER FOR YOU. Like when my two and a half year old wants to eat another biscuit and I say no because he’s already just had one. I offer him some cheese and an apple. He negotiates. He whines. He has a tantrum. And here I am, his loving parent, just trying to give him the best start in life, making sure that his body gets what it NEEDS not just what his taste buds are craving. Sometimes God gives us what we need, not what we want. It is better for us.
What I have concluded is that while I think it is a bit of false theology to say that God always has something better for us when he closes an opportunity, I do believe that he always HAS something. It might just be different. Now instead of saying that, “God must have something better,” I am telling myself, “He has something else in mind, something different.” And I do know that in that different, there will be blessing. No matter how hard that different might be, no matter how not-better I might think it, he will be right there. If I stop whining long enough to listen, he might just tell how this experience is good for me.