Ellen Martin | @EllenMartin03
Have you ever been mad and frustrated because you did not get exactly what you wanted? Were you ever happy afterwards because something better came along? Western Christianity can sometimes teach us that God will give us what we ask, but is this really the best thing?
Psalm 37:3-6 (ESV) says “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.”
People often interpret verse five to say “God will give you the desires of your heart”. Taking the verse in context shows that we need to trust in the Lord, delight ourselves in Him, and commit our ways to Him. When our desires align with God’s ways and plan, we will receive the desires of our heart because His desires are now our desires. If we live selfishly asking God for things that are not a part of his plan, we will not receive the desires of our heart. On the other hand, when we desire the things of God, we will receive the desires of our heart. We may not see the benefit of what God is doing immediately, but we will eventually.
Paul notes in Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV): “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
God is able to do so much more than we can ever imagine. We may not be happy with a decision or event that is happening, but we need to trust God with everything. He is guiding our lives, which is a comforting thought. It may not be comforting for some (especially those who are prone to be controlling, like me), because we never know what He has in store. We may feel like we know best, but in reality, God does. It is important for us to trust Him. How comforting is it that someone else is in charge and that that Someone Else is all-knowing? Nonetheless, we need to strive to obey and follow our Maker.
A verse that is commonly quoted is Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV): “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”
Trusting and following God will give us peace and the desires of our heart. God knows us best. He knows our desires. He knows our faults. When we go through trials, it is important for us to remember that our King knows what He is doing. Our hearts are deceitful, as Jeremiah 17:9 says: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Because of the motives that drive many of us, God giving us what we want could be disastrous. There are times where for our best interest, He either withholds something or says no altogether. Committing our ways to Him as Psalm 37 says is the best thing we can do.
Ellen Martin is a follower of Jesus Christ from Ontario, Canada. She is currently completing her Master’s of Education degree. She is passionate about apologetics, creation, and children. You can follow her on Twitter at @ellenmartin03.