Why God doesn’t always give us what we want

Recently my family and I were on our summer vacation at a Christian retreat center and I decided to grab a Gold Peak sweet tea out of the vending machine before the speaking session. The man in front of me pressed the buttons for a Mountain Dew and to his surprise a Diet Coke came out instead.

“Aw man, it gave me what I needed, not what I wanted,” he turned around and said to me.

I smiled and empathized with him, offering my extra change.

“No, it’s okay. I’ll just take it anyway,” he said reluctantly.

As I went to carefully press the buttons for my tea, I thought about his words and how true they were in our spiritual lives.

Jesus is concerned about what we need, more than what we want. In fact, our wants, desires, and cravings can often lead us down a path of unneccesary pain, hurt, and tears: Coveting something that is not ours to the point of our family’s ruin, desiring the latest fad that only leaves us feeling empty, overindulging in sugar that gives us exhaustian and an expanded waistline, and more.

Jesus is the one able to give us more than we can think of or imagine. He is more than a quick fix but offers us everlasting joy and peace because he is the Living Water. What we see and long for here on earth barely sctraches the beauty and majesty of the abundant life that he says he offers us today and into eternity. He knows what our soul needs most and it is Christ alone. Nothing more. Nothing added. No substitutes. Not Jesus + _______ (you fill in the blank).

It seems though, that we’re still on a meaningless chase to find happiness and joy that is already in front of us.

C.S. Lewis famously quoted:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Jesus is the only one who can bring the lasting infinite joy and pleasure that our souls are longing for so deeply. Truly, we know we were made for something beyond ourselves and what this world skillyfully markets to us, but is a false sense of happiness and security.

Later in the day, as my kids play in the white sand and build castles with sticks, leaves, and rocks, they’re in their own world with not much at their fingertips but the gift of nature. Yet, they’re pleased, satisfied, and completely entertained. They laugh and dance by the water. The sand covers their skin and they’re hot now.

“Let’s take a dip in the cool water!” I say.

“Yeah!” they yell, setting their shovels and buckets down for a better reward of crashing waves and clean skin. Their bodies are engulfed by the refreshing water and their little souls are refreshed.

May we be men and women who are not too easily pleased by the “wants” in our life, but instead are “all in” when it comes to enjoying the beauty, greatness, and holiness of our God who promises that when we come to him that we’ll never be thirsty again.

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” – John 7:37

Why God doesn’t always give us what we want was originally published on Kirk Cameron’s site, The Courage.

 

Samantha Krieger is a pastor’s wife, mama, and author of Quiet Time: A 30-day Devotional Retreat for Moms in the Trenches.

 

 

 

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Fighting Complacency

If you’ve followed my blog for a little while, you know that I’m going through the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The last few chapters I’ve read have dealt with the lukewarm Christian and what God says about Christians who are lukewarm in their faith. I couldn’t believe some of the verses that Francis pointed out. They were convicting to say the least.

They have led me to search my heart deeper and to ask: Do I have lukewarm tendencies? Am I living in mediocrity anywhere or struggling with complacency? Do I sometimes take Jesus’ words half-hearted or even say “I’ll do that another day…”

In my relationship with Christ, just like in any marriage, I have to constantly fight against complacency. It’s so easy after the honeymoon stage, to just settle in and be comfortable. In following Christ, it’s easy to kick back, go on with the day, and lose sight of who He is. And then the relationship turns to legalistic rules and rituals (duty) instead of a wholehearted desire and delight to know and love Christ for who he is.

I don’t think Jeremiah would ever want me to respect and love him out of duty. He would never force me to love him either. So it is with God’s love. He wants me to choose to love him. And to me, this requires battling my laziness and complacent heart that I have at times.

This past weekend, we didn’t stay in our apartment but we went down to my Dad’s (he has a corporate apartment in our complex) and we just enjoyed the setting down there. We watched the Dallas Cowboys, cooked, talked, and had friends over for dinner. It was so relaxing and refreshing. Our relationship felt renewed.

Some things I’ve been doing lately in my relationship with Christ to revitalize it and stir up the passion is listening to podcasts of some really great pastors, praying on my way to work, going through old journal entries, starting a Bible study with some friends, reading blogs, and most of all revisiting God’s word- reading and meditating on it.

I’m so glad that God doesn’t leave us where we’re at. He is so patient and when we truly desire change (and we seek it), he will give it to us in the smallest ways… even if it’s just a different place to spend the night!

Question: What has helped you in times of feeling “stuck”? How are you currently fighting the war of mediocrity?

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