Why God Doesn't Grant Your Every Wish
Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die:
Remove far from me falsehood and lying;
give me neither poverty nor riches;
feed me with the food that is needful for me,
lest I be full and deny you and say, "Who is the Lord?"
or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.
We want to be God, but if we can't be him, we want to control him. That's what happened in The Garden and on the cross and it's what happens every day in our hearts. We want to call the shots, and we know we can't.
Unanswered prayers stoke our anger or cause us to doubt. We overlay our assumptions on God's seeming lack of response and make judgments about why he did or didn't answer our prayer. Maybe we didn't pray hard enough. I know a guy who legitimately believes his wife died because his prayers weren't faithful enough. Or maybe God isn't listening. Or maybe God is too busy with other things. Or maybe God is disappointed in me.
Or maybe he loves you.
Maybe he knows more than you know and can see around that corner of your life to where he's taking you. Maybe he's sovereign and, in his broad perspective, he is shaping your story perfectly. Stories are powerless without struggle and suffering, so what would make you think it's best for you to have a life full of gummy bears and unicorns?
Maybe we can learn from King Solomon. He had everything. I'm pretty sure if all of our wishes were granted, we'd end up living like him. But Solomon learned it was all vanity, just empty trappings that mean nothing.
Getting what you want can destroy you. It can crush you and make you utterly hopeless once you realize your dreams have come true and it turns out your dreams were dumb.
My uncle Don has always called the sweet spot in life "the valley". What he means is that God often keeps us in the valley, in a spot where we are not so poor that we're hungry and not so rich that we forget our need of him. The mountaintop is a beautiful place if we would only exalt him in humble thankfulness, but many of us wouldn't - even if we say we would. So God keeps most of us in the valley where we're fed but needy of him. That's equilibrium.
You've met spoiled rich kids, right? They're a disaster. No life skills. No wisdom. Selfishness. Bad work ethic. When we demand that God make us rich and healthy and happy we are asking to be like his spoiled kids. More stuff, God! Not sirloin - I wanted filet! My car is lame! Why is no one liking my Instagram posts?!?
God doesn't give us what we want, he gives us what we need - and he already gave it. Jesus is what we need. Forgiveness and security and hope is what we need. We need help. All of God's promises are a resounding "YES!" in Christ. Our souls are made full. And a content soul will be content in every circumstance, be it riches or poverty, peace or pain. So that's what I am going to ask for - for more of what I need - for more of Jesus. And I'm well aware that may mean I'll live in the valley, but if I'm in the valley with him, that valley sounds like heaven.