The Waiting Game: When Your Desire is Deep and Your Patience is Thin

I knew that I was going to marry my husband before he even asked me out.  God told me that I would.

We had been casually dating for months.  I liked him. He liked me. I had given him a checklist to fulfill before making it official, and he completed it.  Yet, despite the fact that my husband LITERALLY checked off all the boxes, I questioned our relationship. So I prayed, “God, I don’t want to deal with heartbreak.  I don’t want to add any more baggage to my life. If this isn’t right, please tell me now.”

And God, in His infinite wisdom, said, “It is good.”  Clear as day. He made His promise.

But I found myself questioning His promise constantly.  I desired marriage– THIS marriage. I KNEW it was God-ordained.  And still I questioned if God would actually fulfill this desire.

Dead serious.  I had God’s absolute assurance that He would fulfill my desire but I didn’t believe Him until I had the physical symbol of a ring. Is there anyone else who is that ridiculous? Anyone else who struggles to believe God’s will aligns with your desires until it comes to fruition?

God’s will be done.  It’s something we like to say, although if you’re anything like me, you add, “but I really hope this goes my way.”

In traditional churches, there’s this cultural self-righteousness where we dismiss undesirable results as “God’s will.”  And if it’s God’s will, then we need to just accept it. This belief is what makes us so antsy in the waiting process, and so discouraged when we don’t see immediate results. It makes us feel like we need to accept His lack of immediate action as His answer.

But I don’t think God expects His people to be so resigned. I think He wants His people to be fighters.  Imagine if the beggars in Matthew 20 had listened to the shushing crowd and stopped calling out to Jesus. They never would have received their sight.

Read Luke 18:7, which says, “And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?” Or Matthew 7:8, where it is written, “For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”

I firmly believe that God intends to fulfill our deepest desires.  Of course, it isn’t simple. With a God so complex, nothing is ever simple! There are a few guidelines to remember as you pray for these desires.

Your desire must be God-breathed.   If you’re asking God to fulfill your desire for wealth or fame, chances are He won’t fulfill those desires.  If those are the attributes you most desire, then you aren’t listening to His words. Think of King Solomon. God offered Him the entire world, and King Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge.  In 2 Chronicles 1, it says, ‘God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”’

So read your heart.  Is it focusing on attributes that God desires?  If not, then you need to reevaluate your focus.

You cannot fulfill your own desires.  Have you ever hesitated (or refused) to obey a command of God’s because you couldn’t see how he could fulfill your desires if you followed His will? As a senior in college, I spent six months doing mission work in Nepal.  God laid out this perfect path for me to serve Him there, but I struggled to go because I thought it meant I was choosing to leave my desire for my husband behind. Ridiculous! The God who gave me my husband is the same God who commanded me to go to Nepal.  He had every intention of fulfilling my desires on His own time in His own way. I couldn’t control it. I wasn’t in charge.

Don’t let your desire get in the way of your calling.  Don’t put God in a box and demand that He fulfills you before you serve Him.  He has given you His promise. He intends to keep it. But good fathers don’t give allowances to sons who don’t do their chores.  If God has given you a command, honor it, and trust Him to take care of the rest.

God may change your desire.  I had a friend who was terrified of perpetual singleness.  She liked a guy who showed very little interest back, but since she had no other prospects, she clung to the desperate idea of this one man.  Then a friend gave her the fabulous advice, “If God intends for you to be single, he will ensure that you find satisfaction in that.” Spoiler alert: Three years later, she married a totally different dude who loves her madly and they have adorable baby girl. Her desire was fulfilled.

I know several friends who have struggled with infertility. Some eventually got pregnant.  One never did. After over a year of hopeless doctor visits, God laid adoption on her heart.  With her husband, she prayed about it. Then her heart changed. Motherhood remained her deepest desire, but the desire to become pregnant disappeared.  As she was on her adoption journey, she did take a few pregnancy tests due to odd body symptoms. It was always negative. She was always relieved. “God placed this desire to adopt in our hearts.  I can’t be pregnant. I don’t even want to be pregnant. So many amazing things have happened since we decided to adopt and I want to see those things culminate into God’s ultimate plan.” She signed the adoption papers for her baby girl last year. Her desire changed, and then it was fulfilled.

When God changes your desire, He will also bring you peace. I was a teacher until I gave birth to my second child.  Throughout my pregnancy, I struggled with the decision to stay home.  Staying home was never part of my plan, yet suddenly I had this overwhelming, exhaustive urge to do so.  I fought it hard. I prayed for alternatives, like working part-time. It didn’t make sense that I had worked through a Master’s degree only to throw it away four years later.  

So I prayed for clarity.  I was sitting in a women’s Bible Study on the night I finally got it.  The women there knew how torn I was. In the middle of watching this ten-minute sermon, an overwhelming peace just came over me.  As soon as the video ended, I announced, “I’m staying home next year.”

I haven’t regretted the decision once.  It has been the best year of my life. My teaching career stifled parts of me that I now have back.  People ask me if I regret the decision or if I miss working. Easy answer: Nope, not even a little bit.

God will ALWAYS either change your circumstance or change the way you view your circumstance.  He will ALWAYS bring you peace when making decisions. If you are fervently and consistently for a specific desire, and God has not handed you peace, then He is still working on it! Your answer is coming! Your peace is coming!

I struggle with patience.  People assume that I am patient because I spend my day with kids.  But kids don’t know anything. It’s easy to be patient with people when you accept their ignorance.  I have a much harder time being patient with adults, and an even harder time being patient with God.

I want Him to answer my prayers quickly, and I want to see my path laid out before me.  I get tired of waiting. But there is something to be said for the miracle of hindsight.  I can look at the trajectory of my path over the last twenty-eight years and stand in awe of God.  Preteen-me would have looked at adult-me and been disdainful. Adult-me looks at preteen-me and is shocked that God could take someone so prideful and selfish and turn them into this person that I love.  

I love my life.  I wouldn’t change it.  Yea, I still have deep desires that I pray God fulfills but I am confident in Him.

I don’t know what you’re waiting for.  Everyone has a unique desire. Don’t despair.  Don’t quit praying. Don’t give in to the lie that God doesn’t care or that your ache goes unnoticed.  He has such a beautiful plan. When He finally gives you, His beloved child, your deepest desire, all the aches you feel now will be worth it. That’s a promise.

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov from Pexels

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