When we were children, we learned that if we do an action we will achieve a result. Therefore, to have what we covet, we strive to follow certain rules. But in God, it’s a little different.
“If you want to have a good job, you need to have good grades in school,” our parents told us. “If you want to have dessert, you need to finish your plate,” argued other parents. “If you don’t come home by this time, you’ll be grounded for the week,” others threatened. This is the “action-consequence” system. And this is a system that still works in our society, in many areas. To get a specific result, people will look for the people that have achieved that result, and then they will try to duplicate the same actions. Bookstores are full of books promoting one method of achieving that success, and the Internet is overflowing with “motivators” and “coaches” who all have their methods of achieving specific results.
Yet when we look at nature, we understand quickly that the results vary a lot. We can plant two tomato plants in a garden, from the same variety, and take equal care of both of them. Yet one will produce 10 tomatoes and the other 20. The same soil, the same fertilizer, the same gardener, the same temperature, and two different results. This is even what Jesus used to describe the Kingdom of God. “But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:8 NKJV). Even if the circumstances are the same, the results vary and that is just fine. In the parable of the talents, the one who brought back 5 talents received the same reward as the one who brought back 10 (Matthew 25). In the parable of the workers, the employees who worked only 1 hour received the same wages as those who worked all day (Matthew 20). If we find this unfair, it’s because we focus on the result instead of enjoying the course.
The outcome depends on God. We are not the ones producing our blessing. Yes, God promises that we will be successful if we meditate on His word (Joshua 1:8), but it is not specified what sort of success. “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established”, says Proverb 16:3. But it is not specified here how our projects will be successful. If we apply to different workplaces, under the guidance of God, we will have a job. Which one? It is not specified, but this job will glorify God if we continue to serve Him where we are employed. We must raise our needs to God, but let Him meet them. And so we will be satisfied, but the answer will come from God. “For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, nor did their own arm save them; but it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, because You favored them” (Psalm 44:3 NKJV)
So why put so much effort into following God if we cannot be sure of the outcome? Because we don’t follow God for results, we follow God because we are saved. Our joy does not come from our results, it comes from our salvation. “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20 NKJV). Joy is a fruit of the Spirit; joy is the result of our relationship with God. By understanding this, we also stop comparing ourselves to others, or even envying others.
Singles, there is no perfect recipe for finding a partner, and there is no perfect partner! There are little things you can do to increase your circle of friends. And so your chances of meeting a good match. But it is God who will put the right people in your path. Your responsibility is to keep moving forward in His plan and to rejoice in the journey. “Happy are those who respect the Lord and obey him. You will enjoy what you work for, and you will be blessed with good things” (Psalms 128:1-2 NCV).