Sometimes we can hardly stand it! We want it so bad! We expect. We anticipate. We will and long for one particular expected outcome. It's as if we put on blinders and tunnel vision has its way.
If you love sports maybe you sit on the edge of your chair or pace the floor (like me) waiting to see if your favorite team can pull out the nail biter. The close game is torturous. You would surely will your team to victory if you could. Oh, we want to win so badly!
In reality sometimes what we want most in life we do not receive from God. In our heart we know that God knows best. But do you ever struggle with trusting God when he closes a door of opportunity? We know according to the Bible that “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Is. 55:9). We believe and trust, yet inwardly we want things so different. What we expect from God can really challenge our faithfulness.
Several examples in the Bible illustrate this point. Sarah longed for a child, yet was barren even laughing at God (Gen. 11:30, 18:13). Paul the great apostle longed for the thorn in the flesh to be removed (2 Cor. 12:7-10). In fact he asked the Lord three times to remove it. But God said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Paul would reason, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).
It is virtuous to be ambitious, willful, efficient, diligent and determined. Yet, an important lesson for our faith is realizing that even when our desires, motives and expectations are justified, God may deny them. Doors of opportunity that gleam and glitter may be forbidden. On Paul’s second missionary journey Paul had intended to visit ever city that he first visited on his first tour (Acts 15:36), yet he was forbidden by both the Holy Spirit and Jesus from going to Asia (Acts 16:6-7). Visiting these churches of Asia seemed like such a good idea, yet God had other plans.
How do we trust God when our expectations seem so reasonable according to the Scriptures, yet denied as they play out in life? First, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). Even if this is easier said than done consider God faithful (Heb. 11:1). Second, patiently wait on the Lord and remember that God has made everything beautiful in its own time (Is. 40:30-31, Eccl. 3:11). An answer of “no” from God might be God’s way of patiently refining you for a “yes” yet to come. Finally, if “no” seems God’s final answer be content with merely looking into the Promised Land, even if you can’t enter (Deut. 34:4). The brightness and glory of your final home is so much more brilliant!