(To read the first post in this series, check out God-Given Desires…He Doesn’t Fulfill.)
Several years ago, I took the time to sit down and think about why God might give a desire and yet not fulfill it. While it’s impossible for me to state categorically why God did what he did, I do believe there are many different lessons I can learn from delayed answers to prayer. I recently found a list of different reasons that having a God-given, unfilled desire is beneficial.
#1 – An unfulfilled desire causes me to cry out to God. When my heart is breaking, I am much more quick to turn to God, crying (sometimes literally) out to him. Some of my prayers have been begging God to give me what I desire; other prayers have been asking him to bring my heart into submission to him. Either way, unfulfilled longing causes me to turn to God.
#2 – An unfulfilled desire purifies the desire. Late last year, I realized that as much as I desired marriage, I had some unrealistic, unbiblical expectations of marriage. So I began to seek to uncover what those expectations were so that I could purify my vision of a a godly marriage. At the time, I didn’t know whether God had marriage in my future, but even if he didn’t, I wanted to understand marriage from a biblical perspective. When desires aren’t met, it is a good opportunity to let God purify the desire.
#3 – An unfulfilled desire teaches me to relinquish those desires I idolize. Even godly desires can be turned into an idol. While a desire for marriage and a family is biblical, the idea that marriage will make my life completely better is wrong. Even though I knew that marriage would not fix my life, it’s hard not to subconsciously fall into patterns of thinking that when this desire is fulfilled then life will be good.
#4 – An unfulfilled desire lets me learn to rejoice with those who rejoice. Living with an unfulfilled desire makes one all the more aware of those instances when others receive that same desire. For me, it was a challenge when every time I got on the computer it seemed I was reading or hearing about another courting/dating relationship, a newly engaged couple, or a wedding announcement. But Scripture calls me to rejoice with those who rejoice. I never became perfect at doing that . . . but my unfulfilled desire gave me ample opportunity to practice.
This post is linked to Deep Roots Home.