In my last post Pursuing Your Field Of Dreams, I wrote about how God does want to give you the desires of your hearts.
But how do you feel when He doesn’t?
Contentment is a huge issue, isn’t it? I’ve written a lot in previous posts about my emotions, and how a lot of times I feel like I’m on a roller-coaster – some days good, then a few bad ones, then good ones again, etc. But how am I reacting on those bad days?
Yuk – whiny. No, not always verbally whiny (my husband’s grateful for that), but more so whiny just inside my whole being. I get down and start to feel sorry for myself.
One day in a “down mode,” I came across Philippians 4:12 (NIV – emphasis mine):
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Humpf… (picture arms crossed and disgust written all over my face).
Yeah, right, but he’s “super Paul,” one of the great apostles. Normal people just can’t do that.
But then I decided to read on, and the next verse (v. 13 AMP) jumped out at me:
I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency].
The sword of God’s word pierced through my heart (Hebrews 4:12). I started realizing that my eyes weren’t on God, but were on me – yet again. Where was my trust? Where was my faith?
In John 11:1-46, we read about Mary and Martha, who were very close to the Lord Jesus. So was their brother, Lazarus.
But then one day while Jesus was out preaching with his disciples, the sisters sent Him a note, telling him that Lazarus was sick (v. 3). Of course being God in the flesh, Jesus knew just how sick Lazarus was, yet still decided to stay where He was for another two days before heading back to Mary and Martha’s house.
What happened during that time? Lazarus died (v. 13)…
When Jesus and his disciples finally arrive, Martha rushes out to see Him, wondering why He took so long to get there. She even gets accusatory, saying that if He would have gotten there sooner, Lazarus would still be living (v. 21).
But after receiving a loving rebuke by Jesus, she reaffirms that she knows that He is the Messiah, the Son of God (v. 27). In other words she’s stating that her eyes will remain fixated on Him, knowing that His ways are not our own, and that she does indeed trust Him, even though things had not turned out as she had anticipated.
Of course you know the rest of the story. What does Jesus do next? He raises Lazarus from the dead – after being dead for four days (v. 39)!
Then what happens? Well, look at v. 45 (NIV):
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did [raising Lazarus from the dead], put their faith in him.
God’s timetable and His ways are not our own. He is God, and we’re not. He gave Mary and Martha the desire of their hearts by making Lazarus healthy and whole once again – but not in the way they anticipated, and certainly not in the time frame that they expected.
So do you trust Him? Do you trust that He knows your deep desires and the longings of your heart? And that He wants to answer your prayers?
Sometimes He doesn’t answer our prayers right away, because it’s not time yet. We cannot see what’s going on in the Heavenlies; the things that need to come together before our prayers are answered. But does that mean that you should let go of your dreams?
Hang on, and keep trusting. Remember that sometimes the way that God answers your prayers will seem different than you imagined, but He always knows best.
And if you’re struggling to keep your faith? I pray this often: Lord, forgive me for doubting. I do love you and trust you; please help my unbelief (see Mark 9:24).