“What you want and what you need are two different things”- how many times have we heard that said to us? Perhaps too many to count! This punchy truth has never hit home more powerfully for me than now as I’m parenting. It’s clear that if my wife and I would give our children what they want (every toy they see in the shops, unlimited screen-time and chocolate for each meal!) we would not be doing them any favours.
As God is the perfect Father with a faultless parenting style it’s obvious that He doesn’t always give us the things we want, the things we ask for - the things we believe are right for us. As a matter of fact, if the Lord were to give us over to our desires, which are very much influenced by our sinful nature, it would be a rather painful treatment, not a blessing. The Greek myth of King Midas should help to remind us of this!
Of course we all have right desires and valid requests. We want to be set free from oppression, delivered from difficult situations and we generally like to feel whole and healthy. Nothing wrong with that - we would be strange people if it weren’t so! Yet sometimes, when we’re seeking deliverance from these difficult situations, the Lord’s directions to us might not be what we want to hear at all.
When Jesus appeared as Israel’s Saviour the nation was being oppressed by cruel and unjust rulers. Naturally the Jews placed their hopes in their Messiah to deliver them from this oppression, as the Scriptures indicated He would do. Jesus’ response must have been quite surprising - if not upsetting! Though He never rubbished their hopes and dreams, He did consistently point out that the people’s greatest need was not freedom from Roman rulers, but freedom from the oppression of sin. Time and time again He made clear that His primary mission was to save both Jew and Gentile from their sins. This probably wasn’t exactly the message the nation was waiting for!
As we help people in Ellel Ministries a lot of the time we find the Lord working in a similar way. People may be in difficult situations and they’re crying out to God to deliver them. Though these requests might be completely valid, and God certainly cares, many times He turns our direction to matters relating to our personal relationship with Him instead. This too can be surprising and even difficult for us to bear. Yet we can trust our Father. What He wants for us is for our (eternal) good. He doesn’t always give us what we want, but that which He knows we truly need. He’s a kind, wise and perfect Father!
Prayer: Father in heaven, You know all the things I want even before I ask them. Please would You help me to understand Your heart and will for me, and follow Your agenda. I choose to trust that You know best! Thank You for loving me in a perfect way! Amen.
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