Today's Guest Post was wonderfully written by Joshua Narwold! I hope you enjoy reading it just as much as I did! Enjoy!When we pray, it’s natural to ask for the things we want; and the Lord loves to bless His children. How do we react, though, when His answer is “no”—or even “not yet”? Unbelievable as this may be when we recognize God for the all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful being He is, it’s often easier for us to trust our own vision for the future than to step out in faith and sacrifice that vision to Him.
Not long ago, as a man in his mid-20s with a renewed desire to serve the Lord, I couldn't help but feel as though I was “behind” somehow. I’d had a (somewhat blurry) image of what I wanted, which included the “right” job and marriage to a beautiful, godly woman; but I’d expected to have those things already, and I wasn't getting any younger.
Through a providential series of circumstances that tested my faith and brought me low, God revealed the true state of my heart. My life had always been in His hands, but only if it matched my expectations. I had tried to plot out my future without truly surrendering it to Him, and I had virtually nothing to show for my efforts.
For the first time, I began to acknowledge the very real possibility that His plan might look different from the “perfect" picture I had in my head. I continued to ask for specific blessings but no longer assumed that it was in my best interests for Him to answer as requested. I asked Him to reveal His will for my life rather than simply giving me the things I thought I wanted.
That’s not an easy transition for any of us to make. It takes trusting someone we can’t see with a future we don’t know; and at least for me, that kind of trust doesn't come naturally.
The words of Matthew are a comfort: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself” (6:33-34). The Lord knows what we need and is faithful to fulfill those needs (Ps. 23); and when we accept Him as the author of our story, He begins to draw our desires closer to His perfect plan.
These things take time; and even as the Lord sanctifies us in this area, we will continue to struggle on occasion with surrendering our every desire to Him. In history, this struggle is probably best represented by the biblical story of Job. If anyone had reason to doubt the power or goodness of God, it was this man; he’d had nearly every earthly blessing stripped from him as if in a moment. Listen, though, to the words our Lord as He put it all in perspective for Job:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (38:4-7)
I’m sure Job shouted for joy as the Lord not only restored his blessings, but doubled them. May we do the same as we experience the hand of God moving in our life; and may we ultimately say with the psalmist, "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever" (Ps. 73:25-26).