Human Desire and God’s Timing
Copyright by Shea Oakley
All rights reserved.
When God does not act on our behalf in the way, or at the time, we would expect Him to we might be tempted to think that He does not love us. If God does not immediately give us what we desire we might wonder if He is our champion or our enemy. Sometimes our response is even anger towards our Lord. Such is the reaction of fallen human nature to not getting its way when and how it wants it.
It is disconcerting to realize that we sometimes react to God the way a small child reacts to its parents when those parents challenge its will. Who has not seen (or been) a frustrated six-year-old screaming “I Hate You!” at a mother who will not buy the candy bar he or she wants? The innate human response to not getting our way with someone is to decide that someone does not have our best interest in mind. Anger usually follows.
In this world even the desires of a child of God are often frustrated. The reason for this is that our flesh, the “old man” who, though dying, still dwells within us, sometimes influences us to want the right thing in the wrong way or at the wrong time. For instance many un-married Christians have a God-given desire for a spouse but choose relationships with people who God knows would not be good for them or the other person. Or perhaps they desire the right partner, but one or both of them are not yet at the level of maturity required to make a marriage work. The result is frustration, a believer’s legitimate desire for a good thing thwarted by the sovereign wisdom of God. The pain of such denial is real. When it happens to us it often seems like we cannot help but react.
This is where the temptation to believe a lie about the Lord rears its ugly head. The pain we experience in not receiving something we desperately want, something that makes sense to us to receive, and receive right now, can be intense. We begin to wonder if the God we believe in really has our best interests at heart. We begin to wonder if He is against us, and if He is against us who can be for us? Sometimes we lash out at a God we have come to think is a cruel parent, perhaps like the darkly imperfect human parents who raised some of us. For that matter, even the best human parents make mistakes.
But the God of the cross is anything but a bad parent.
He is, in fact, the perfect parent. No one knows us better than the One who created us. No one loves us better than the One who died for us and has redeemed us. The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ knows and loves us perfectly and wants to bless us more deeply than we could ever imagine. However He also knows what we need, and when we need it, far better than we do. As obvious as this might be to us intellectually our hearts often have a harder time accepting it. It takes longer for our hearts to grow in trust than our minds.
The answer is the acceptance that coming to fully trust in our God is a long process. We believe but we still need to continue to ask Him to help us in our unbelief, to be prepared to grow in faith over the long term. A Giant Redwood tree is not made in a day and neither is our faith. Growth in faith tends to be incremental. Patience does not come overnight. When the Psalmist tells us to “wait on the Lord” he means, among other things, that a patient heart will receive its desire at exactly the right time. God gives us the desires of our heart when the giving will do us the most good. If we wish to be wise, and enjoy life in Christ to the full, we do well to accept that getting the things we want, even desperately want, will not be according to our imperfect schedule but according to His perfect one.