When God Doesn't Give You What You Want
If you’re a husband, then you’ve probably experienced the terror of your wife asking you to pick up something she needs from the grocery store. We all know that she has a specific brand, size, price, and color of the item that she requested and you had better get it right. To be fair, most of us as men don’t consider the amount of time and effort our wives put into preparing a meal for our families and therefore don’t understand the importance of getting what she asked for. However, most of us have experienced the tension of giving our wives something different than she asked for. It’s frustrating to ask for something and not receive what you asked for.
We’ve probably also been on the receiving end of this in our relationship with God as well. We are striving to be obedient to His call on our lives and in the meantime we ask Him to take care of our physical needs. Often, He does give us exactly what we’ve asked for as long as our motives are right in our requests. Maybe just as often though, He doesn’t give us what we’ve asked for.
There’s an interesting passage in 2 Corinthians where Paul is asking the Corinthian church to be cheerful and faithful in their giving to the saints in Jerusalem. He challenges them to “sow bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6) and then he gives them this assurance:
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8
Maybe it would seem appropriate that if God is asking us to give financially that he would return the favor by blessing us financially - and sometimes He does that. However, the greater promise here is that as we are obedient to God by living with generous hearts, He will make his grace abound to us so that we would have “all sufficiency” (read contentment). While we may hope for financial blessings (temporary), God lavishes on us spiritual blessings (eternal).
The result is that we become even more generous and joyful because no longer are we doing this through our own strength, but the grace and strength He provides us to live with true contentment no matter our circumstances. He sustains us with something far greater than a balanced checkbook and a solid financial future. It may seem impossible to have true contentment when life keeps throwing curveballs at you and it may seem frustrating when God does not give us what we ask Him for; especially when we think we need it. This is why Paul gives us the encouragement in Philippians 4:
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
The truth is, if we have Christ, we have enough. He knows your needs (Matthew 6:8), He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7), and He is able to meet them (Matthew 6:33), but in our praying and searching for material provisions, let’s not miss the greater blessing of his grace enabling us to live with real contentment. It is only when we live with true contentment that we can live with true generosity anyway.