In our home we lovingly refer to our three year old as “The Plunderer”. He has a knack for finding hidden objects and purposefully trying to get into anything that is not his. I’ve found him ransacking my room on numerous occasions. In fact, just yesterday I caught him climbing the fridge like a gold hungry pirate trying to get something we had purposefully taken from him. But the fact that it was out of his reach did not stop him. I have to give him credit for his ingenuity and perseverance. It took him several attempts (as I stood idly by just observing) until he finally had said object in his grasp. And then came the tears when I had to take it away.
Seeking Out Less Than God’s Best
Don’t we sometimes act like a determined three year old? We refuse to listen to a clear ‘no’ from the Lord. We reject His wisdom and teaching. We plunder our way through life trying to seek out what we believe will bring satisfaction. We think we know best and deceive ourselves into trusting our own limited understanding. It can be tempting to see a job, children, relationship, material item, social acceptance, and so on as something that will be good for us or bring happiness. But in our efforts to achieve said “thing” we have failed to trust God.
And it’s not as though what we are desiring is necessarily inherently bad. It could be a really good thing. That new job could provide more money and financial stability. That relationship could alleviate loneliness. But it’s not what God has said is best for us at this moment in our lives (or ever). Yet, in our own stubbornness and unbelief, we still pursue it. Or we may finally “give in” but do so reluctantly and with an attitude that reveals the unbelief in our hearts.
An Attitude Of Unbelief
Deep in our hearts rests a wrong view of God’s love for us. We can convince ourselves that He must not really love us if He withholds ________. But my dear friend, it is quite the opposite! It is because of His great love for us that He has chosen to deny us a specific longing.
God never witholds from His child that which His love and wisdom call good. God’s refusals are always merciful — “severe mercies” at times but mercies all the same. God never denies us our hearts desire except to give us something better. – Elisabeth Elliot
Elisabeth Elliot provides for us a beautiful truth – the reason God withholds anything is because it is an act of His mercy and grace. Yes, it can be painful and leave us asking why. But we must still seek to trust Him and ask Him to help our unbelief.
Why Can We Trust God?
Since the dawn of creation the Lord has acted as a loving Father. From the Fall to the Cross and even now, His plan and purpose always includes a joint pursuit of our good and His glory. And through it all, He has never deviated from His character. When God says “I AM” He means it. Every facet of His being is wrapped up in those two words. He is the wise sovereign King of the universe. It is not in His character to be unloving. It is not in His character to work against our good. He has proven Himself throughout the course of history as One who, out of love, is always pursuing us despite our constant rebellion.
We should trust our loving Father and believe that if He does not grant us our request then He is not leaving us empty handed. Just as Jesus told the story of the father who would not give his son a snake instead of a fish, likewise God will not deny us His best. And no matter the one or the million things He wisely chooses to withhold, we are still in possession of the most treasured gift-a relationship with Him.
Every Yes we will ever need or could truly be satisfied with is found in Jesus.
For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. – 2 Corinthians 1:19-20