Bible · Christian Living · Spiritual Growth

God Never Withholds His Best


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

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2 thoughts on “God Never Withholds His Best

  1. Sarah I am enjoying your new blog! I have often thought of doing the same but have not seen it through fruition yet…maybe some day. What an encouragement you are to many women!
    You’re right, it is easy to become frustrated when our requests aren’t answered the way we think they should be. It can be confusing at times to know the promises of God to His people; “blessings”, “prosperity” (not necessarily money), “peace”, “contentment”…etc. and yet not be able to see these things happening in our daily lives. We think, well if this, then that. If He did this, then I’d have that. But we must always trust Him, for as you wrote, He does desire what is best for us. We don’t always see it, how the things we so desperately want could actually keep us from knowing Him like He desires us to. We don’t always have eyes to see. I often pray for “eternal perspective”, for that is something a mortal man does not inherently have, but God can give! To see the world, His people, and my life’s path the way He sees it, from an eternal perspective. Goodness, He knows I need eternal perspective! 🙂
    Something else to consider though…yes God may choose to not grant us our every request due to His grace and mercy, since He sees beyond what we can…but what if we are actually a hindrance to Him answering our requests? We often allow sin to become so common in our daily lives that we no longer see it as sin. Fear, worry, anxiety. Self-Rejection, inability to accept ourselves as He’s made us, fear of man’s opinion of us. Comparison. And so on… Too many times we think we can live in our sinful patterns and still expect to see God’s overflow of blessing upon our lives. What if we are playing more of a role in preventing blessing than we realize…

    Isaiah 59:1-2
    Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, so that He cannot save. Neither is His ear heavy, so that He cannot hear, but your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so He will not hear.”

    Someone once told me “God’s love is unconditional, but blessing is conditional”…meaning God has set up laws and ways the world works from the beginning of time. If we go against His way, maybe He withholds…
    Of course we also have to be careful in this line of thinking else we find ourselves living in a very performance based faith. That is not from God either.

    What are your thoughts…

    Love you friend!
    -JoAnna

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    1. JoAnna-

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words and for taking the time to read my post. I’m so happy to hear it was an encouragement. I definitely would love to read a blog you start one day- so if that happens, keep me posted! I’m always in need of daily wisdom/encouragement from other godly women.

      And I appreciate your thoughts. I agree with you that sometimes the promises of God can be somewhat ambiguous. As can the word “best” I used. Best doesn’t always mean pleasant. I think too, that suffering can be a form of “best” for our lives as can discipline. He allow us to suffer so we depend on Him and draw ourselves into His peace. And we can be disciplined out of love so we turn from sin and seek repentance.

      And I would also agree that our unrepentant sin can definitely be a hindrance to receiving His blessings. But even in His denial of it, we can still be given His best. For example, if we continue on a course of continual disobedience, He would be good to withhold our requests because if He gave us “the thing”, we may love the gift more than the Giver. And the motives behind why we ask for said things would be for our own sinful desires rather than in union with His will for our lives.

      “Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another just as he commanded us.” 1 John 3:21-23

      I think what John is saying here is that our hearts reveal our true motives for why we are asking God for something. If it is in line with His will (love God and love others), then God is pleased to grant our requests. Of course this doesn’t mean that our hearts are ever without sin, but we do have a heart that still seek repentance.

      Thanks again and I so enjoyed corresponding with you! I’ve always wanted to have a girl version of Lewis and Tolkiens’ pub talks, where we discuss all theological matters. Please weigh in again with any thoughts or questions! Much love!

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