In yesterday’s reading, we reflected on how promises from God sometimes do not turn out as we hoped. The same happens with many other things that we have wanted for a long time. Some desires stick with us regardless of the likelihood of success. Even when it becomes very clear that we will never have them, we cannot stop wanting them. And often when we do get them, it is disappointing. We wonder why we ever wanted it so badly in the first place.

In the Bible, we read about the Israelites’ disappointment when their dream to leave Egypt finally came true (Exodus 14). Escaping Egypt became more and more unlikely as the new king Pharaoh tightened his grip on the Israelites. “Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: ‘Throw every newborn Hebrew boy into the Nile River’” (Exodus 1:22, NLT). I can imagine how badly the Israelites wanted to leave Egypt after losing their precious babies. And how excited they were when it happened so miraculously! (Exodus 12). Only to find themselves in greater danger on the other side. ”They said to Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt?’” (Exodus 14:11, NLT).

The same disappointment that the Israelites experienced often happens to us. When our biggest dream turns out to be the opposite of what we hoped for, we start questioning our desires. Why did I want it in the first place? Why was I not satisfied with the way things were? But children of God can find rest in his promises. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4, NLT). It does not mean that He will give you everything you desire. It means that He will give you the actual desires AND do what is necessary to fulfill them. In the same way that the Israelites could not have imagined the wonderful promised land on the other side of their desire, our desires are safe in God’s hands.

In Philippians 2, Paul confirms God’s sovereignty over his children’s desires. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13, NLT). The desire in your heart that keeps on bugging you may well be God at work. And rest assured that your seemingly disappointing outcome is not disconnected from God’s great plan for your life.

Let us trust God with our desires. And let us not allow regret to sow doubt in our hearts. When we bring our desires to God, He will help us to see his perfect will for our lives. “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires” (Galatians 5:17, NLT).

Scripture readings:

Proverbs 20:24

Exodus 1:11-22

Exodus 14:5-13

Psalm 37:3-6

Philippians 2:12-13

Galatians 5:16-26