By: Alexandra V. Hoover
Comparison is a tricky thing, isn’t it? I’ve struggled in and through it for many years.
“God’s brought us this far, and He won’t stop now” is a phrase I love to reorient myself with – it reminds me that God’s not done, that God’s not giving up, that He cares and is still good. But how can we be sure God will “help us this far”—that He will show up to our lot in life—when we feel like our world is so different from hers, that person whose story is all we want but can’t have? Another set of talents? What if He is so busy showing up for her life that He doesn’t have time to show up for ours?
How can we trust God will meet us in the moments we are caught up in comparison? And what would He say to help lead us out of that obsessive place?
He’d tell us this: we are all stones. We’re all part of a greater story, a greater building He’s constructing, and we all have a part to play in it that matters in its own way. More than that, when it comes to “me versus her,” He’d tell us that although our lives may be different in so many ways, the truth is that we are actually not all that different.
Let me tell you what I mean by looking at 1 Peter 2:4–5: “As you come to him, a living stone—rejected by people but chosen and honored by God— you yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
Did you see that? The Bible calls the church “living stones” (1 Pet. 2:5).
Back in the Old Testament, God used to dwell in a physical place—a temple made of natural stones. But now, because of Christ’s work and the Spirit’s presence, we see the New Testament build on this idea of stones, telling us that yes, God still dwells among His people in a temple, but this time the temple is not a physical building made of physical stones. Instead, God dwells in a living temple: His people. His multiethnic bride. We are his temple!
Why does this matter? Because understanding that you are a stone that is part of a bigger building changes everything. And it can seriously help you understand comparison issues in a whole new way. What kind of stone are you in the temple of God? Sometimes I think that instead of answering this question and being the stone we were built to be, we start looking at other stones. Maybe she’s a bigger, flashier, gem-like stone, and we consider ourselves smaller, unimpressive, or ordinary. We obsess over the blessings He seems to be giving the other stones out there, or the way He made them, and we start believing and entertaining the thought that we aren’t as significant as they are. We compare someone’s stone—someone’s life—to our own instead of taking our place in the building. This trap hems us up to live outside of fully experiencing who we are in Christ, looking at our earthly riches instead of the heavenly ones.
We cannot know who we are if we do not know whose building we are a part of. A stone strategically placed here, in this part of the church and the temple, for such a time as this.
It would be easier for me to tell you to accept the fact that she’s a really nice stone and to call it a day because God chose to make her that way, and therefore we should rejoice in the gifts He’s given. But it’s not always that easy; it’s not always that clear-cut. Sometimes what we see around us may be the thing we want— but this is when we have to remind ourselves of the simple truth—that we aren’t called to live by the standards of the world; we aren’t called to live for love but from it. Not for what we have but whose we are. God made you a stone in His house. He gave you a place.
Her, you, me—we’re all little stones that come together to build the house of God. Each of us gathered into one body, is where God Himself dwells. She might be on the left side of the house while you’re on the right. And you know what snaps you out of your comparison faster than anything? The fact that although we are all stones that house His presence (and that’s amazing!), we ultimately aren’t the point or the big deal.
He’s the big one. He’s the flashy one. He’s the gem. He’s the foundation. He’s the reason we’re steady. That’s the point. I’m a stone. She’s a stone. And friend, you are a stone, a good one, a needed one, a beautiful one. And although it may not feel so pretty on the outside, that’s okay—on the foundation of Christ who holds us up, God uses busted and broken people to build a masterpiece. Eyes Up.
Excerpt taken from Eyes Up: How to Trust God’s Heart by Tracing His Hand (B&H Books, May 24, 2022 (Chapter 8: The Cornerstone – God’s Not Holding Back, Pgs. 168-172)
Alexandra V. Hoover is a wife, mother of three, daughter, sought-out speaker, and writer. She’s passionate about communicating the gospel’s beauty and hope, whether through writing or speaking, online or in person. Her words spur people on to hope, healing, and their mission. She has the privilege of serving on staff at Transformation Church and spends her days loving on her family, dancing with her kids, and living on mission right where God has her. Connect with her at alexandravhoover.com or on social media @alexandravhoover.