My earliest memory goes back to about the age of 2 ½. My twin brother and I were playing in the yard when what we thought was a stray cat, came wandering by.  Turns out it was a rabid skunk and it bit my brother. What followed was a series of shots for my brother over the course of the next several weeks. Each day when he came home from the doctor, he handed me a sucker from the nice doctor and ate the other one himself. On the last day of shots, he ate both of them before he ever got home. And yes, I was upset.

Clearly, I had done nothing to deserve a sucker. But I felt quite entitled to it.

We smile at children as they wrestle with the whole idea of “life not being fair”. We explain that concept to them over and over. It’s one of the first lessons we teach them.

But somehow, as adults, we excuse our own entitlement attitude far too quickly. It’s hard for us to be happy for someone who gets all the lucky breaks without working for them, especially if it’s something we’ve been working for and not yet achieved.

We struggle through unanswered prayers, financial difficulties, health issues, and approval ratings like we are some kind of deserving creatures.

What if we flipped the whole thought process around? What if we spent some time thinking about what we haven’t gotten that we clearly deserve?

Psalm 103:10 says “He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.”

I deserve to pay for my sin. I deserve to reap what I sow. I deserve to bear the shame of my mistakes.

But through Jesus, I am free from my sin. Free from punishment. Free from shame.

He even puts a robe of righteousness on me that I didn’t earn, much less deserve. (Is. 61:10)

Each morning, God allows me to open my eyes and live another day, enjoying His presence and a ton of blessings that I don’t deserve.

As long as there is life on this earth, there will be sin and pain and unfairness and mistreatment and injustice. We can’t get away from that. But it doesn’t have to steal our joy. Try counting your blessings this week and focusing on what you have, rather than what you think you deserve.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. “ Lam. 3:22-23

Wanda Stutzman