Few things compare to the feeling of praying for something and even putting forth effort to work toward it, only to have it fall through. You pray, you work, you claim it, you move forward as if it’s already yours and eventually you’re deflated when that thing doesn’t come to pass or doesn’t turn out the way you wanted. Then you spend days and nights asking God if this is some cruel joke. Pleading with God to tell you why you weren’t allowed to have this one thing you really wanted and that you worked so hard toward.
As Christians, many of us are taught that whatever we ask God, if we ask it in Jesus’ name it will be given to us. We’re essentially taught that God is here to provide for us so the formula goes, tell God what you want and God will give it because he loves us and that’s what he’s here for. Although, it is true that God is our provider and that God loves us and wants us to be happy, it is also true that God is the authority. God isn’t a genie whose sole purpose is to pacify us by giving us everything we want but that’s sometimes how we treat God.
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
We often hear an abbreviated version of the above verse to support the idea that God is here to please us. But “God will give you the desires of your heart” is only half the scripture and it comes with a condition. The verse begins by telling us to take delight in the LORD. That doesn’t simply mean to be happy about Jesus. It means to get to know Jesus and to be excited about who Jesus is in your life. Get happy about the fact that Jesus is LORD over your life.
LORD is an Old English term used to refer to someone who had power and authority over land and the people who worked on it. Jesus being LORD of our life means that he has power and authority to not only give us what we want, but to decide what we should have. As control freaks, this sounds like a bad deal. What’s the point of being able to ask things of someone who is all powerful if they can just not give you what you asked for? I want what I want, when I want it. The good news is that Jesus loves us and someone who truly loves you only wants what is best for you. Jesus has the power to give you the desires of your heart but the desires of your heart need to be in line with what is best for you.
Not only do we ask God for what’s on our hearts, we first have to open ourselves to allow God to literally place desires in our hearts. To replace our selfish desires with ones that serve our best interests as it relates to our purpose. So, when asking for anything, the first thing we need to ask is what the LORD desires for us. The closer we can get to Jesus, learning what our purpose is and what kinds of people, places, and things support that is the first step to receiving the desires of your heart.
So when we are disappointed not to have received what we asked for, ask “was that person, place, or thing in my best interest? Is it something that would help elevate me in my purpose?” Sometimes the answer to that is a clear “no.” Other times, maybe what we asked wasn’t anything bad, it just wasn’t what God would have for us. But you can always trust that if God has our best interest at heart, for every “no” there is a yes that is greater than what we would have asked for.
The challenge today is before we ask God for a specific thing, ask God to enter our hearts and remove what’s contrary to who God is in our lives. Then we will be able to delight in the LORD and he will give us the desires of our hearts.