Man, I’m a spoiled brat. I personally think I’m not, but in my Heavenly Father’s eyes, I bet I can be SUCH a pain sometimes. When it comes to material things for myself, I don’t really want or ask for that much in particular. I do have things that I like and appreciate, but since I came to Christ, my desire to chase things beyond Him has been increasingly waning.
I was talking to a friend recently about our love for cars. I actually really like cars. Most of you who only know me from our recent TX move don’t know that because I never talk about it, and I don’t have a nice car. Growing up, my bedroom walls were lined with posters of my dream cars. I had stacks of car magazines that I would read every day. I used to cut out pictures of cars from magazines and carry it in a “Trapper Keeper” binder that I had dedicated to my car clippings. (Yes, I’m dating myself.)
In high school/college, I had a Honda Civic that I worked on ALL of the time. I put all of the money I earned into that car, bought all of the name brand after-market parts, did all of my own maintenance, and installed almost everything entirely myself from the interior to the exterior… everything from engine and exhaust upgrades to racing suspension to body kits to rims to stereo and lighting systems… you name it. I would keep my Civic immaculately clean, and show it off in front of the clubs I DJ’d at *cringe* lol.
Fast forward to today, and what do you find me rolling in all over town? An old minivan. On an extra hip day, maybe our even older SUV. I get comments to this day from people surprised that I drive a minivan. There were actually a few instances recently where I would be walking back to the parking lot from my kids’ school or activity, and the parents I would be walking back with would make a comment like, “Wow… so you drive a minivan?” I don’t know if I give off a non-minivan vibe or something, but I completely advocate for their comfortable, functional reliability!
The same goes for my music gear. Most musicians that love music as much as I do, really invest in their gear and get top of the line, name brand equipment. Me on the other hand, I’m completely content getting the cheapest, used thing on Craigslist, as long as it works well enough and it won’t break immediately. I have a keyboard, acoustic/electric guitar, and a bass guitar. If you asked me right now what brand/model they are, I literally couldn’t tell you because I have no idea. I don’t even know what brand the piano in our living room is. I would have to take a minute to find their labels and look. This is not a common characteristic of a musician or gear-junky.
My point is that it’s rare in this day and age that I REALLY want something, and even rarer that I want something VERY specific. These days I’d rather just go with the flow and go with whatever is practical and works. Because of that mindset, it probably leads me to think that when I actually DO want something, I should be able to have it… a.k.a. BRAT.
God is revealing to me how stubborn, impatient, and selfish I can be. These are not attributes that I would typically tag myself with on the outside, but God knows me better than I know myself, and my heart condition isn’t anything that I can hide from Him (Psalm 139:1-24). Also what I’m learning these days, is that this not only applies to tangible things we want, whether that’s a certain house, car, job, educational degree, entertainment item, clothing, spouse, children, etc.; but it also applies to things we consider more “spiritual”, such as church growth, missions planning, ministry success, gifts of the Spirit, etc. In my experience, once my desire for material things began to curb, my impatience moved over to the desire for spiritual things.
But God is infinitely wiser than us, and loves us too much to give us what we selfishly want, when we want it. It’s like a parent that doesn’t allow their child to play with the adorable dog dressed in a cowboy outfit that also happens to be foaming at the mouth. Even though the child is kicking and screaming out of fury of being restrained from what they think will be a joy unparalleled in this universe, the parent knows that, as cute as that dog looks, rabies isn’t fun.
What we want may seem like a blessing, but it’s either not the right blessing for us, not the right time, or a combination of both. Even though these may be seemingly “good” things (like having children for example), in God’s wisdom, He knows what’s best for us, and often that goes beyond our understanding (Rom 8:28, Isaiah 55:8-11).
And for those of us struggling with a desire for spiritual things, there can be many reasons that God is not giving us what we want (yet) as well. Some of these reasons we may never know, and we just have to trust that He has a good reason for it. But some of the main ones that come to mind are:
- It’s your desire, but not God’s. Only through a close relationship with God, knowledge of His Word, and conviction by His Spirit, will we be able to recognize when our desires are not in line with His. What we may think is a good and noble desire, may be mired with self-seeking purposes that we can’t recognize on our own. Proverbs 16:9, Proverbs 19:21
- It will be in His timing, not ours. Are we ready to receive it (i.e. spiritual maturity)? Is he teaching us patience? Is it the right time to receive it according to His plans and purpose? There can be many reasons why God is saying, “Not now.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-22, 2 Peter 1:5-8
Whatever the reason may be, we just have to trust in God fully and recognize that He is in control. Let’s all commit to knowing God’s heart more by praying, spending time with Him, reading His Word, singing praise and worship to Him, and intentionally making decisions that draw us closer to Jesus.
The promise He gives us is that once our will is aligned to His, then He will give us the desires of our hearts! So we don’t have to fret, get anxious, or be so discouraged when His loving answer is “No” or “Just wait”.
Rather, we’ll be at peace knowing those answers are the very BEST answers we could possibly receive! And instead of us crying out, “Why God, why?!?!?”, our reaction will be transformed to, “Lord, Your will, not mine.”
“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
[From October 31, 2015]