“When Peter saw him (John), he asked, Lord, what about him?” John 21:21 NIV
I have had many conversations with God about that person I call “the one who lives across the street.” That person who seems to live such a carefree life. The one who never seems to go through hard things while you feel overwhelmed with all the hard things you face. I’m guessing you know someone like that across your street as well.
People say the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit leaning longingly against hers. The time I have spent questioning God’s goodness for my family while watching it fall like rain on her and her family.
That is until the day I realized that all my obsessing over her good things left me disappointed with mine. Because the truth is, I can’t say I have not been blessed by God. I have a wonderful daughter who has a successful career as a Registered Nurse and a handsome grandson who is the joy of my husband’s and my heart. I have possessed the love of a man for over 39 years. Never once has he wanted to take it back, even on my worst days. Topping it off, God continues to supply our every need.
But more importantly, I have an intimate relationship with Jesus. Ever since I surrendered my heart to Him at the age of 10, He has filled my heart with joy.
The truth was all the leaning against the comparison fence was starting to wear me out. Plus, it wasn’t changing my struggles looking in the wrong direction. Instead, it was way past time to spend more time looking up than over the fence. It was time to lean into God’s truth instead of the comparison fence built on the enemy’s lies.
My comparison wall had to come down. It was time to embrace the one, not like me. Yes, embrace the one who seems to have nothing but the best life had to offer while I struggled.
First, I went to the word of God for answers. I found confidence in knowing that I wasn’t the only one who spent time wondering about other people’s assignments. I discovered Peter also needed steering in the right direction when the enemy tried to veer his attention from looking at his own assignment to looking at John’s assignment.
In John 21:21, Peter asked Jesus a straightforward question. “When Peter saw him (John), he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?'” Jesus had just moments before given Peter his own assignment. He asked him three times to feed his lambs and sheep and follow him in days to come. He also informed him that his obedience would result in him dying a martyr’s death.
Peter inquired whether John would face a similar death. Jesus didn’t answer Peter’s question. But He did tell Peter point-blank, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” In other words, it would be of no concern at all to Peter whether John suffered or whether he did not suffer at all.
So Peter, just like me, started to look across the comparison fence and had to be directed to look in a direct direction. History would prove John did suffer for his role in spreading the gospel, but he died a natural death in his elderly years. Proof that just like Peter, we have to answer honestly the question Jesus asks us all, “Do you love me? Then follow me.” Follow Him regardless of the assignment He gives us. Taking up the cross and following Him will be a personal choice only we can make.
I made a conscious decision that every time I started to view “her” as more blessed than me or feel like God likes “her” best, I would instead pray for her.
It felt forced at first, but the more I prayed for her, something incredible started to happen. My perspective on my circumstances began to shift. I could better concentrate on the job before me when I wasn’t always watching to see what she was doing. Contentment slowly started to replace discontentment. A peace began to settle over me where envy once hung like a dark cloud dampening my spirit. My heart began to feel lighter as my healing began.
At some point in every life, the enemy will try to convince you that others have it better than you and that God is not good. So let the lessons here serve as an invitation to step away from the comparison fence when he does.
Instead, join me at the feet of Jesus. First, we will pray together for your neighbor across the street to help you embrace the one, not like you. Then, we will tackle our challenging assignments together.
Instead of looking over the comparison fence, we will look up and follow Jesus.
Susan Davidson is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She resides in a small town surrounded by mountains in southwest Virginia. She is a devotional writer for her church and small group Bible Study leader. She recently started blogging with the motto: “we are never too old for God to teach us something new.” Her passion is encouraging others in their walk with God by sharing her “handfuls of purpose.” She enjoys reading on her deck and spending time with her family and West Highland Terrier, Mindy. You can connect with Susan at her website: https://ruth216girl.com; on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ruth216girl/; on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/susan.davidson.12 and https://www.facebook.com/ruth216girl.
We thank you, Susan, for your contribution to this publication of Titus-two.com and for you warm and endearing invitation to all women to embrace the one not like them. . Your words of encouragement have touched the hearts of many and we look forward to hearing more from you in the future.
You are loved to Heaven and Back, Susan ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary