I was expressing some form of hopelessness to Ian the other day.. We were talking about where we’d like to see ourselves when we’ve moved past the ‘school as a student’ phase of life into the ‘school as a professor’ stage of life. I think we both know exactly what we’d like that to look like, in theory. But, I found myself struggling with the desire to even talk about what I really want because I felt so sure that if I wanted it that much, the Lord would definitely do something different (I don’t think this is the first time I have expressed this particular struggle here, and if you’ve talked to me much this year, you’ve probably heard about it considering I often battle with desires to not be exactly where I am right now.. but that’s not where I’m going with this..). I told him it’s really hard because I feel like in the past year, I have seen the Lord answer many of our prayers, but so often, not in a straightforward way and not in ways we expected. There seem to always be long, tense, insecure times of waiting followed by a partial or seemingly hesitant answer, followed by continued struggling and waiting, etc.
I told him I just wished I could count on the Lord to give us clear answers and to bring our hearts into alignment with His will, rather than allowing it to be so difficult. I told him I didn’t even want to hope for the things I hope for because it seems so likely my hopes will be crushed. And how will I stand back up again and again, how will I remain hopeful for anything?
And as I continued to spiral into this thinking, I began to pray for something so small, so insignificant, but something I really wanted to happen without even realizing I was doing it.
And then. It happened.
I was thrilled that the Lord had answered it so quickly because at that moment, it was just what I wanted and felt that I needed. I started to tell Ian of another time this week when that very same order of events had happened, and then I realized there had been several times lately when I had prayed for something and it happened almost immediately. Yesterday, the Lord clearly used me to answer a prayer for Ian that I didn’t even know he’d been praying.
I then realized (I know, this is quite the series of epiphanies) how good the God I love is. How gracious of him to use these little, seemingly insignificant things in such a significant way. To remind me that he does love me with a depth I cannot fathom. That he is willing to show me in little ways that he hears me, he listens to and knows me. And no amount of my waywardness will change that.
I realized that my hopelessness did not stem from the way the Lord was answering my prayers, but that it was founded in my loss of focus. I am not the main event in this little life of mine, Jesus is the main event, and will be for all eternity. If the Lord gave me what I wanted all the time, my life would be drastically different and I would have missed out on incredible things that have been crucial in my development as a human being. Things that perhaps I didn’t ‘want’ but things I’d never change.
Psalm 103 verse 5 says that God ‘satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.’
My favorite thing to remind myself is that this verse doesn’t say that God satisfies your desires with exactly what you want. It says he satisfies them with good things that will breathe fresh life into your lungs. And sometimes that means waiting, being unsure, risking having your hopes crushed. Because there is a God that wants to draw you nearer to himself, and He will satisfy your desires. Even if it’s not what you expected.