God, what do YOU want?
Five years ago we sold our first house after being on the market for only three days. We were excited and eager to have a fresh start and hopeful we’d find a place with a little bit of land. We had no idea then the lengthy journey we’d be on to find “just the right” home.
Within a few weeks we settled on a white ranch style house nestled anongst cornfields with idyllic views of the rolling countryside in every direction. Except the inspection came back showing it needed several repairs and the owners weren’t willing to make them. The house had several other issues we weren’t in love with, so we decided to keep looking.
That’s when we found another house. Not just any house, but THE house. Or so I was convinced.
It had everything I could have wanted. A master suite with a beautiful bathroom. A huge kitchen with a fireplace and an island! Full basement for the kids to roam. Huge outbuilding. And all on several acres of gorgeous, rolling countryside.
It was more than I could have even dreamt possible. The house was being foreclosed on and was selling for quite a bit below what it was valued.
But right when we were in the midst of the negotiation process, another buyer swept in and offered them a full cash offer. And the bank accepted, without even giving us a chance to counter.
I was heartbroken.
You see, throughout this process I had prayed and begged and pleaded that God would work this out. I had asked if He could open the doors. I had promised that we’d use all that space to fellowship with friends and family and other Christian believers.
Except you know the one thing I hadn’t done? Prayed for God’s will.
I never once told God that if this wasn’t His will, to not let it work out. Not once did I ask if this was what He wanted for my life. All I could see was how good it looked and how much I wanted it. And didn’t God want good things for me?
Instead, I found myself getting all inside out emotionally when my desires didn’t work out because what I really wanted was my way, not His.
I’m ashamed to admit that far too often my prayer life sounds much the same. God, could you please work out this situation? Lord, will you change this person? And well, by the way, could you answer just a wee bit faster?
Maybe you’ve done the same thing before, too.
I was missing out on a key difference: prayer is about submitting my will to God’s, not His to mine.
Because while that house certainly looked like a great option, God could see things that I could not-that it was on the top of our budget, it wasn’t in the location where He ultimately wanted to lead us, or maybe just that it was not part of His plan.
Friends, when God shuts a door in our life it’s not because He’s trying to keep us from something good, it’s because He’s trying to give us something better.
Sometimes His better looks like a house that is more manageable financially. It looks like waiting half a year and living with family while you search so you can realize how important your loved ones truly are. And maybe it looks like taking you to a city you would have never even considered, because He knows that down the road He has big plans for you there.
Psalm 32:8 says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” Whatever it may be, we can trust God with all the details.
God, thank you that you don’t take me along my paths, but you take me along the best paths. Help me to remember that when I’m feeling disappointed or confused or wishing things would work out my way. You way isn’t just better, it’s the best. In Jesus' name, Amen.