I asked God for strength, that I might achieve. I was made weak, that I might learn to obey. I asked for health, that I might do great things. I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy. I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have men’s praise. I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life. I was given life, that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything that I hoped for. I am, among all men, most richly blessed!
-Prayer of the Confederate Soldier
It is a harsh and humbling reality that you and I rarely know what is truly best for us–what will bring us the most purpose and fulfillment in life. We have all these deep desires that inspire our hopes, dreams, and pursuits of happiness, but sometimes the paths we think these all lead to are not the ones we are truly meant to follow.
What we have to realize is that we did not create our own innate desires. We are not the masters of our deepest motivations. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide to have the desire for close personal relationships, or the desire to make a meaningful impact in the world, or even the desire for personal success. These (and many more) desires were carefully crafted within me from the moment of my conception by God, my Creator.
Out of my desire to love and be loved, I may seek out relationships that are not ultimately part of God’s plan. The hunger in my heart to do something meaningful with my life may lead me to chase after accomplishments, fame, and worldly successes. These are not bad things in and of themselves, but they may be a bigger part of my will than God’s.
What is your idea of happiness, fulfillment, and success in life? Are you still waiting for that “perfect” job, searching for your soul-mate, or wondering when the stress in your life will finally be relieved? These things may come, in God’s time, but have you surrendered them to Him? Have you offered Him the longings of your heart, knowing that His will is always best? Do you really trust the Author of your desires?
You and I have to begin to examine our desires through the lenses of God’s imagination, not our own. Remember, He gave us all these desires we have and He always has a plan for them. The desires that you and I see in ourselves are like individual dots scattered around the large canvas of our lives. We struggle to make sense of these scattered dots and wonder how they can all fit together, but the Artist doesn’t wonder. He has a purpose, and a plan, and He is going to connect all these dots for us into a masterpiece work of art throughout our lives. The picture you and I would paint on our own from these “dots” of desires would fall so short of the masterpiece God has planned.
Talk with God about what the desires of your heart are. Tell Him about the struggles you’re going through. Ask Him to help you along this path and to lead you to fulfillment. Then surrender, trust, and rejoice in thanksgiving that He is in control. Will it be hard? Definitely. Will you get everything you ever ask for? Nope. But if you seek after Him your whole life long, the blessings you’ll get in both this life and the next will be so much better than what you would have planned, just not in the ways you expect.
Lord Jesus Christ, take all my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will. All that I have and cherish, You have given me. I surrender it all to be guided by Your will. Your grace and Your love are wealth enough for me. Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more. Amen. +