If you knew that God wasn’t going to fix the thing that’s holding you back, what would it free you to do?


It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie “As Good As it Gets”, but the scene that the movie takes it’s title from is hard to forget.  Jack Nicholson’s character, a lonely man who struggles with mental illness, turns to a broke, single mom with a chronically ill child (Helen Hunt) and asks “What if this is it?  What if this is as good as it gets?”  It’s a heartbreaking moment for the characters, but it also hits on a fear that I think we all share. 

I know that the Sunday School response is that with Jesus no situation is impossible and things always get better with God.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  I think there are plenty of times when God, in his infinite love and truth tells us that this is as good as it gets (on this side of heaven).  Paul talks about such a time in Second Corinthians when he prayed that God would take away the “thorn in his flesh” but God says no.  Moses dies in the dessert, never reaching the land he spent forty years seeking.  The Bible is full of examples of people who never “arrive.”

There is a myth that I have believed, and maybe in some ways still believe, that if we play our spiritual cards right, we will eventually “arrive.”  If we believe the right things and pray enough and practice the spiritual disciplines, we’ll get to that place where we won’t struggle with our doubts, our greed, our broken family, our illness. . . you can fill in the blank.  The truth is that we may struggle with some things until our last day on earth.  This sounds discouraging, but I’ve actually found freedom in it. 

If you knew that God wasn’t going to fix the thing that’s holding you back, what would it free you to do?  For me it gives me freedom to run my race with a limp.  It forces me to stop putting off living until I arrive and start living in love, joy and truth in spite of the things that make it hard to do so.   It also helps me to focus on God, not my situation.  I know that someday His Kingdom will be established and there will be no more thorns in our sides.  Until then, His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:8). 

-Jess P