I’ve been learning recently that even if I want something, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what God wants. It is so easy to wish for different opportunities and miss the ones God has already given me.
I’m really good at explaining it away too: explaining why I/we would be so good at whatever it is I think we should be doing.
“Lord, Josh and I are so good with teens. Can’t you let us do more in other ways . . .”
“God, I have so much I want to say and truth I want to share! Would You open a door for me to . . .”
And I keep going. I’m usually dreaming big in the shower, spelling my plan out to God as soap runs into my eyes, feebly hoping that if I phrase it just perfectly, God will be more apt to answer. (Tell me I’m not the only one who does that.)
It doesn’t stop there though. I tell my husband my big ideas; and while he listens very sweetly, my ideas soon turn into complaining about my lack of opportunity. Eventually I’ll probably end up telling my parents or sister or friends, and fall into asking, “Why doesn’t God let me do this one thing?”
Our Bible friend David had the BEST intentions in 2 Samuel 7: he wanted to build a temple for God Himself. “See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains,” he said in verse 2. He was even advised to proceed by the prophet Nathan. But then God told Nathan to tell David no. What?! The Spirit of God had dwelt in the movable tabernacle for centuries at this point, and David wanted to honor the Lord by building Him an enormous, breathtaking temple that would be built with the finest materials, filled with jewels, and set on a firm foundation. But God said no: He wanted David’s son Solomon to build it. David told his son in 1 Chronicles 22 that God would not let him build the temple because he had “shed blood abundantly,” “made great wars,” and “shed much blood upon the earth in [God’s] sight.”
For David, he knew why God would not give him the opportunity he wanted; but even though David could have gotten angry and made excuses and complained, he instead praised the Lord. In 2 Samuel 7:21-29, David blessed the Lord, and thanked Him for all the wondrous works He had done and the promises He made!
If I had been David (and sometimes I feel like him with my big ideas and good intentions), I doubt I would have responded as well as he did. I certainly don’t in my own life. But David was a great example for us when it comes to following our own dreams, or choosing to pursue God’s will.
Just as I believe God has given me specific opportunities for a reason, I have to believe that He withholds other opportunities for a reason. If I do nothing with what He has given me, if I ignore where He has placed me, if I instead pout and complain and am discontent, I will miss the opportunities in front of me.