Do you believe God will give you the desires of your heart if you delight in Him? Even if you do, waiting for them can be painful. You might get discouraged, wondering if God will answer your prayers. Or, you could become angry when you see Him blessing others with the very thing you’d like to have. How can you, as a believer, thrive in the midst of a painful season of waiting?
- Be honest with God. God doesn’t need you to put on a happy face. The book of Psalms is full of examples of God’s people pouring out their hearts to Him. One psalmist wrote:
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
In the night my hand was stretched out without weariness;
My soul refused to be comforted (Ps. 77:1-2).
Pour out your heart to God and allow Him to encourage you (Ps. 62:8). Confess any frustration, anger, discouragement, or bitterness. If you refuse to express your genuine feelings to Him, you won’t experience the full measure of His comfort.
- Trust that God has a purpose for His delay. When I wanted to be a teacher, I didn’t understand why God wanted me to work in a T-shirt shop, making little more than minimum wage. (Read the article.) But, a year later, I realized the Lord had saved me from beginning my teaching career with a group of rebellious students.
While you wait, God works behind the scenes on your behalf. Give Him time to arrange every detail so you will receive His best (Ps. 84:11-12).
- Serve the Lord. One of my friends wanted to be married. But, she didn’t let that stop her from serving God overseas as a single person. In Russia, she led a Bible study, served at a mission church, and organized creative outreaches, such as an English-speaking coffee house. She fell in love with the country, the people, and her work there.
Maybe God’s not calling you to serve as a full-time missionary. But you can still look for ways to reach out to others. Compliment a co-worker’s performance, bring a dessert to a neighbor, give a thoughtful present, or offer to pray for someone’s need. Don’t wait for God to fulfill your desire before you serve Him.
- Ask God to supply your needs. One of my single friends needed to purchase a new car. Unfortunately, she knew very little about how to negotiate for one. Her husband had handled it in the past, but they had recently divorced. God prompted one of the men at church to go with her to the dealer, and she purchased a suitable car at a fair price.
God wants us to view Himas our ultimate source (1 Tim. 6:17). What do you feel you lack because God hasn’t met your desire yet? Ask God to supply the need, right where you are, in whatever way He chooses to do so (Matt. 7:7-8).
- Prepare yourself for God’s answer. Do you want to be married, but haven’t met Mr. or Miss Right yet? Read books on dating and marriage, and learn to work through conflict with close friends and family. Do you want to have a baby, but your spouse isn’t ready? Talk to those with children and ask about their parenting secrets. Or, read books on pregnancy and child-rearing. Do you want to earn a raise or promotion? Invest in further education and work diligently in your current position.
By preparing yourself, you accomplish two things: you demonstrate faith that God will fulfill your desire, and you prepare for success once your dream comes true.
- Look for ways to enjoy life. One of my cousins, whose heart’s desire is to be married, recently took full advantage of being single. After purchasing a special airline ticket that allowed her to travel freely around the world, she quit her job, and visited all the countries she longed to see. She figured that when God sent her a husband, she probably wouldn’t have the same freedom to travel.
Another way to enjoy where you are is to celebrate the joys of others. One lady I know takes great delight in weddings and new babies. Even if she’s not invited to the wedding or the baby shower, she finds something thoughtful and inexpensive to give to those celebrating a joyful, life-changing event.
It’s tempting to put life on hold until God meets our hearts’ desires. But Christ’s presence is all we need to have abundant life (John 10:10).
- Be thankful. In the wake of her divorce, an older friend of mine experienced a depression so severe that she couldn’t leave the house to get groceries. She started thanking God each morning for the things that were good about her life, although she certainly didn’t feel thankful. Today, she attributes her healing to the practice of giving thanks.
Would you like to feel more satisfied with life? Write a gratitude list or verbally thank God for specific blessings. You will feel happier about your current situation while you wait on your dreams.
- Find contentment in the Lord. We often think like this: Life will be so much better when the kids have grown up, or when we get out of debt or when I’m on the mission field. However, if you’ve lived long enough, you know that once your dream comes true, it will have its own challenges.
The Apostle Paul discovered a more solid base for contentment. In Philippians 4:11-12, he wrote:
I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
Ask God to show you how to be content in your current phase of life. Then, when He gives you your heart’s desire, your contentment will be firmly grounded in Christ.
The Lord doesn’t want you to be miserable while you wait for your heart’s desires. Make the most of this season of life, and entrust your dreams to the One who gave them to you.