Just today, I got a message from a girl on social media who shared this:
I am still not married and it’s what I’ve desired and dreamed of since I was twelve years old. If it’s not God’s will, I have been diligently praying that He would take away this desire, but He hasn’t.
What unfulfilled longings are weighing on your heart right now?
Having one real and true friend?
Having parents who genuinely love each other?
Having a husband who leads spiritually?
Living in a city with a bigger Christian community?
Getting a better job?
Feeling deeply loved by someone?
Having nicer siblings?
Overcoming a chronic illness?
Seeing a friend or family member come to know Christ?
Having another child?
As I’ve wrestled with my own unfulfilled longings to get pregnant and struggled with infertility and miscarriage, I’ve asked God “why” so many times. I’ve cried and wondered why God would give this good gift to other women but not to me.
I’ve prayed fervently and sincerely and wondered why God wasn’t answering my prayers. Why wasn’t He giving me what I so desperately wanted—especially something that He calls a good thing.
Maybe you’ve tried to bargain with God like I have.
Okay, God—if You answer this prayer, I promise I’ll read my Bible for this entire year and never miss a day. Think of how much I’ll grow!
God, if You give me what I want (and BTW, You call this thing a blessing in the Bible—just FYI), I promise to never complain about anything ever again! For real! Cross my heart, hope to die.
Seriously, God, I’ll be a better Christian if I get this. Not even kidding. Feel free to take something else out of my life, but please (with a cherry on top) could You just answer this prayer? And like maybe soon?
There’s that moment when we all feel desperate. We’re done waiting, and we just want what we want. Bargaining with God is tempting (and I’ve been there!), but it never really works out in the end.
Here’s the deal: I used to think that God wasn’t answering my prayers when I didn’t get pregnant, but the reality was, He was answering them all along. He just wasn’t giving me the answer I wanted.
It took me a while to catch on, but I eventually realized that God answers my prayers in one of three ways:
1. He says “yes” and gives me what I prayed for.
2. He says “no” and closes the door in that area.
3. He says “wait” and wants me to patiently wait for an answer down the road.
Out of those three options, I think the hardest one is “wait.” It makes me feel like I’m a contestant on a game show with three mystery boxes to uncover. When I uncover the box that says “wait,” I think to myself, Can I try a different box, please? This isn’t the mystery prize I was hoping for! A “yes” or a “no” is a little more straightforward. A little more black and white. I can live with that. But “wait”? That’s like living in national fuzzy land. No thanks, God.
But here’s the truth: God knows the waiting is hard for us as humans. He knows it’s challenging for us. Ultimately, though, He knows it’s good for us.God knows the waiting is hard for us as humans. He knows it’s challenging for us. Ultimately, though, He knows it’s good for us. Click To Tweet
The waiting causes us to come face-to-face with our own inability to do anything about it. The waiting forces us to look in the mirror and acknowledge that we’re not in control. As a recovering control freak, this isn’t fun for me. But it’s oh so good for me. God knows that my greatest need isn’t to get what I want out of life but to get more God into my life. And if I’m totally honest with myself, one of the best ways for me to see my need for Him is through the lens of my unfulfilled longings. As my friend Nancy Wolgemuth often says, “Anything that makes me need God is a blessing.”
Look around. What is God doing in your life right now? What does He want to teach you today? What has He already given you that you’ve become blind to? The reality is, if you can’t be content with what God has given you today, you probably won’t be content with what He’ll give you tomorrow.The reality is, if you can’t be content with what God has given you today, you probably won’t be content with what He’ll give you tomorrow. Click To Tweet
There is so much God wants to do in your life during the waiting. There is so much wisdom to be gained in the wanting. One of the biggest lessons God has taught me during my season of unfulfilled longings is that He is enough.
It’s not God + My Answered Prayer = Happiness.
It’s God + Sincere Faith = Great Joy.
Whatever your journey looks like today, don’t forget to look around. Don’t waste the waiting. Don’t fixate on the peaks. Some of life’s greatest lessons happen as we’re refined in the valleys.
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal’s new book Not Part of the Plan: Trusting God With the Twists and Turns of Your Story. We love Kristen and Bethany and their work at Girl Defined Ministries! Grab a copy of their new book to be encouraged to trust, surrender, and grow closer to God through every twist and turn of life.