I love that commercial where two little girls are offered ponies. They hand the first little girl a little toy trinket of a pony, which she seems perfectly happy with. She smiles and turns it this way and that, admiring it. They ask the little girl next to her if she'd like one too, but instead of a little toy they lead in a real pony. It's comical to watch (from her face and body language alone) how stupid and worthless the first little girl now views her "pony". This commercial so aptly illustrates how happy we can be until we see that someone else has something better. Like the story Jesus tells about the workers. The workers are pleased as punch to have jobs, happy with the work rules and pay until new workers are brought in and given the same pay for half the work...and bam, just like that, that's the end of their job satisfaction. (Matthew 20).
It's amazing how quickly a little comparing can jolt the joy right out of you. You've always been perfectly happy with your bathtub, until you visit a home with a large sunken bathtub and suddenly you realize you've been bathing in a bucket for all these years. You're perfectly happy with your size until you start hanging out with people that you can make six of and then suddenly all you can think about it is how you got to be that big and eventually just find new, bigger friends (just kidding). You think you've got a decent amount of hair, until you start comparing the size of your ponytail to others and realize that you're actually practically bald.
I'm being facetious, but you see where I'm going with this...comparing what God has given us to what He's given to someone else is never good. Even when we perceive our life as being the superior one, it's destructive because insidious pride seeps in. We start believing we somehow actually deserve a "better" life than someone else. Talk about experiencing "pride coming before the fall". Ouch.
Jesus said He came to give us life...life to the full. (John 10:10). I love that verse. We're here to make a difference, to live a life that matters and the most gratifying feeling in the world is knowing that we're right where God wants us to be. Sometimes I watch normal six-year old little boys and I literally ache for Brett to be like them. When I have thoughts like this, I remind myself of what Tammy once told me, that Brett is God's pleasing and perfect will for our family right now. Someday we'll see all the good that Brett's life has brought into this world, good that only came about because he is the way God made him. Until then, I'll continue to remind myself not to compare my life with others, because God in His infinite wisdom is molding and refining me to accomplish what no other person is as uniquely qualified as I am to do. I like how The Message translates Ephesians 2:10, "He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join Him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing." May we all find joy and purpose in the life God has given us, regardless of what circumstances we may find ourselves in.