Comparison and God’s Purposes for Us



Several years ago at a writer’s forum, noted author Lydia Brownbeck made this comment:  “If you find yourself saying something over and over, you probably need to write it down for people to read.”  That’s not an exact quote, but her words gave credibility to the inclination that I had to write about biblical womanhood.  Dozens of conversations with women in every season and stage of life, combined with God’s grace in my own life, became the motivation to put pen to paper (well, let’s be honest – fingertips to keyboard). After more than three years, I can finally strike that item through on my “to do” list.

After a several month hiatus from writing, Lydia’s directive resonates in my mind again today — and not specifically about biblical womanhood.  On this occasion, it’s not my saying something over and over to other women that informs this particular piece.  It’s what I have had to say to myself over and over again in the past few months that merits more writing.  Fortunately, I’m anticipating a few hundred words, rather than several hundred pages, will do the trick this time…

This is the message that I’ve written on the mirror in my bathroom, on a sticky note on the dashboard of my car, on the chalkboard in my office and on the home screen of my cell phone:

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.” Psalm 138:8



They are not my own words, but these words penned by King David have repeatedly corrected my thinking and preserved my soul recently as I have found myself wrestling with disappointment, discouragement and discontent.  I have claimed this promise of God when faced with the success, promotion, and happiness of others that I think has somehow eluded me (thank you, Facebook) and I’ve returned to it many times in recent months as God chips away at the idols of my heart.

I’ve noticed as I read the opening phrase of Psalm 138:8 repeatedly, each time emphasizing a different pair of words, the depth of this promise becomes powerfully clear in the face of my struggle.  The theology residing in this one little phrase is profound.

The Lord.  Jehovah.  The covenant-keeping God.  The One who keeps His promises.

Will fulfill.  Not He may fulfill.  Or He can fulfill.  Or He desires to fulfill.  This is definitive.  He.  Will.  Fulfill (aka do it!). You can “take that to the bank”.

His purpose.  Each word in this pair is significant.  HIS purpose — He will fulfill HIS purpose.  Not my purpose for me (sigh).  Not my parent’s purpose for me.  Not my husband’s purpose for me.  HIS purpose for me.  Purpose.  He has one!!  He.  Has.  A purpose…an objective.  A goal. An intention.

For me.  Personally.  As a human being.  As a woman.  As a child of God.  As a wife, mother, sister, friend, church member….  The import of these words cannot be overstated:  The Lord has a purpose that is for meSelah (Pause and think!).

On Mother’s Day, as I scrolled through the photos on Facebook of friends celebrating with their mothers and grandchildren with their grandmothers, I felt the familiar pang of envy as I rehearsed my sadness that my mom never got to meet her great-grands.  She would have loved those babies and been so proud of her grandchildren.  I felt … robbed.

Sometimes I browse through the pictures of beach trips, cruises, and romantic getaways to far off places and I feel hopelessly stuck in the monotony of my life.

I read the well-placed and wise words of other writers and I know that my words are clumsy and pedestrian in comparison.

I watch from afar as other people love on my grandson and I worry that his affection for me will wane.

Again and again Psalm 138:8 sets my feet firmly on the ground of the steadfast love of the Lord that endures forever.  The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.  Comparison in almost every instance leads to sin because I am tempted to believe that the Lord is withholding something good from me (and giving it to someone else).  Psalm 138:8 helps me to think biblically, to set my mind on things as God sees them and to remind me of what is true —- in spite of how I feel or what I see.

What is true, always, is that God has a plan for my life, a purpose for me, and He will fulfill it.  The story of my life pales in comparison to others only because I am paying more attention to God’s purpose for their lives than for my own!

I have no idea the disappointments and despair that threaten you today.  But I know that longing for the ease, comfort, affluence and affection that seem to define the lives of others does not lead to contentment and joy.  Perhaps this reminder is for you.  Perhaps the grace of God in my life might resonate with you as you repeat this rich and strong doctrine with me:

The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.

His steadfast love endures forever.  Can I get an amen?

Promo pictureSusan is the Director of Women’s Ministries at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. Her first book, Becoming Eve, is now available along with a study guide for personal and small group use. She and her husband, Charles, have two married children and two grandsons. While Susan loves cooking, photography, reading, writing and ministry, she mostly loves being Gigi to Micah (2) and Jack (8 months)!