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What Your Unanswered Desire Says About God’s Love for You

By Shana Schutte

To him who led his people through the wilderness, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:16

When was the last time that you experienced a great unfulfilled desire?

Maybe you had a particular desire to get pregnant, obtain a particular job, move to a particular state, make a particular amount of money, live without a particular physical pain, or marry a particular person. You wanted it so much that your soul felt hungry. You lay awake at night dreaming — and worrying — about what would happen if you couldn’t get your desire met and you wondered what would happen if God didn’t say yes to your prayer. You may have even wondered what this desire, ungranted, would say about His love for you.

I recently considered how we all experience these unfulfilled desires when I read Deuteronomy 8:2–3. In this passage, God is speaking about His people as they wandered in the desert.

“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

In this passage, it struck me how God used their physical longing for food to do a spiritual work in their lives. He leveraged something material to do something immaterial. Sometimes the Lord does the same with us. He will use a physical or emotional desire we long for to draw us to the only place we know we can go for relief. . . straight to Him. Sometimes God doesn’t give us what we want so He can give us what we need.

This is a magnificent truth! Remember this: during times of longing, an absence of God’s provision for what we desire is not proof of a lack of His love. In fact, it may be proof of His very active involvement in our lives.

C.S. Lewis once said, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Ah, yes. Not only is pain (even the kind associated with an unfulfilled longing) God’s megaphone, it’s what He uses to give us what we truly need and what will create ultimate satisfaction. It’s a way He shouts “You would not believe how much I love you!” It’s a way He proves what is in our hearts.

“He knows you’re going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.” (Deuteronomy 2:7)

Let Us Pray: Lord, I praise you that just because you haven’t given me what I want doesn’t mean you don’t love me. Please help me so that these trials do a good work in me. Let me allow them to draw me to you and not away from you. Amen.

Application: Make a list of the great desires you currently have — and those you have had in the past. Make note of how God’s answer regarding each affected your relationship with Him. Then pray, asking Him to help you stay close to Him during those times when you are longing for something you don’t have.

Related Readings: Exodus 16:4; James 1:3; 1 Peter 1:7

Morning Worship

New music by Minister Sonnie Badu…amazing worship