You can ask for something and not even realize what it is you really long for. And sometimes the not-getting is as much a discovery and a gift as receiving your heart’s desire. But it takes time to learn all that. Time, and tears, and asking for all the things you want while you wrestle with the things that are. Time and opportunity to see the Savior standing in the middle of your darkness shining His light until you finally realize it’s all the same to Him. And suddenly I remember the Musician-King singing about this very thing “…even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.” (Psalm 139:11-12) It takes time to see that if He is standing in the middle, lighting up any dark circumstance, I can be at peace there too. Funny, isn’t that just what the Church-planter Paul has been saying all along? ” Don’t worry about anything….Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
But things like that you only learn from experience, like the Twelve did in their boat on the Sea of Galilee. When you hear with your own ears the Master’s voice commanding the wind and the waves, and see with your own eyes how they obey Him, you know Who is truly in control of all things. When you feel the frightened beating of your own heart, and how everything quiets in His presence, you realize He is fighting for you and you can simply trust like a child. But learning these things takes time, and when needs press the heart, waiting is the last thing we want.
Someone mentioned to me recently that surely God would respond to a person’s faith in asking for healing. Surely there was no lack of faith, and the faithful servant who asked would be better off made whole. Surely God would answer, because He is good. He is certainly that, but maybe it isn’t about faith or healing at all. Maybe it is about something God values even more, because He is perfectly good. Our eyes are only on the outcome we desire, but He is looking at what can happen in the meantime, as we seek His face. His desires for us are “…immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” (Ephesians 3:20), and there are things He can accomplish in the waiting that turn out to be the healing our hearts need most. I can hang on tightly to what I want– the solution I can figure out myself, and want immediately– or I can relax my grip and turn to look at Jesus’ light, trusting that He is bringing good things in the waiting. Maybe the answers I want will come, and maybe they will not, and it will still be okay because He promised. And I remember the prophet Jeremiah, who wept for his people long ago and could still say: “The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:25-26)
Strengthen my heart to want You most, Lord Jesus. I know that in the end, there’s nothing worth more than having more of You.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!Matthew 7:9-11
But faith is not measured by our ability to manipulate God to get what we want. It is measured by our willingness to submit to what He wants.Tricia Lott Williford