I had almost set the title as “God Doesn’t Promise ______” – but by fear of my brothers and sisters thinking that I had apostatized, I opted not to. In fact, I would dare not choose any wording that would confuse others or communicate the false accusation that the Lord does not make promises. The thought that God doesn’t promise is a satanic lie. He is the only Promise Maker that has kept His Word, fulfilled, and will fulfill every promise (Numbers 23:19).
Before going any further, I want to share a simple saying the Holy Spirit has been teaching me in my early morning meditations. This saying is something that has been mere shallow lip-service for most of my Christian life and something that within the past year I’ve been changed by.
Not i, but Christ alone
The more I change from faith to faith, the more I’m longing to find contentment in the Lord and jealous in seeing His glory above everything else. Before residency, I’ve always had the notion that God will give me what I want as long as I’m obedient. Such isn’t the case and although it certainly is in the Father’s heart to give his adopted children good gifts (James 1:17, Luke 12:32) – what He wants most for us is our obedience and contentment in Him alone.
Not too long ago, I read a Desiring God article that was titled “Sometimes God Just Closes Doors.” It was incredibly convicting for me to read as I had to search the depths of my heart for the idols I still cling to. I won’t give you a word for word verbatim, but I’ll give you the premise.
God is ultimately out for His own glory – not ours.
There will be many who may ignorantly deceive and say “God is just closing this door to open up another” – which isn’t always the case. This wasn’t the case for John the Baptist. John the Baptist’s life purpose was to turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God and to make ready for the Lord a people prepared (Luke 1:16-17). John the Baptist spent his entire life devoted to magnifying the Lord and preparing the people of Israel for the coming of the Messiah. When Jesus came, John makes a declaration of worship in John 3:30 – “He must increase and I must decrease.” – John was eventually arrested and put in Herod’s prison only to be beheaded later on.
It may be in the will of God that we should not be healed of our illness, that we should not see our desires come to pass, that we won’t go to that dream school of ours, that we won’t have that desired marriage, or that we won’t have that perfect job. As much as our Heavenly Father loves us, He is also a Father that says “No” from time to time. I’ve had many wants and desires that I begged God would give to me, only for Him to tell me – “No.”
Later on down the road, I’ve realized why He set forth His plan the way He did, and thus began to trust Him as the One who knows best. This Communicable Attribute of God is known as the doctrine of God’s Omnisapience – which is just a dressed up way to say God’s Wisdom. The Lord will always choose the best goals and the best means to those goals [per Wayne Grudem]. He works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We must learn to love and trust Him.
In the middle of submitting to the will of God, I often times see Heaven as a prize when in actuality – Heaven is a mere finish line and Jesus Himself is our prize. The Lord is the One who will ultimately satisfy our every desire: if it’s loneliness – He’s a better companion. If it’s lack of that desired job – He’s already preparing a place for us in His Kingdom (John 14:2). If it’s lack of happiness – He will exceedingly meet our joy to the fullness (Psalm 16:11). If it’s lack of approval – We are already approved by the One who spoke galaxies unknown into existence. If it’s lack of health – we have an eternal glory awaiting us (Romans 8:18). Who are we that God would care to know our names and desire a relationship with us? The Creator of the world wants to know us! Even more so, the Gospel story tells us that the Holy Author wants to change and restore sinners!!
Listen and consider my words as a parting note of encouragement. The Lord makes us many promises, but there are two that you can hold onto today. First and foremost, Jesus promised us that He’d never leave us (Romans 8:35-36, Matthew 28:20, John 14:16). There are many hardships that I’ve trekked upon in my life, whether that be in the Marines or in the Ministry – God has never once left me to my own. He will never let us go. Nor will He give us up. He will keep us until the very end. How sweet the thought of that is!
Secondly, Jesus promises us that He alone will satisfy us. As we run and toil after the things of the world – we forget that His immediate and holy presence – of which even the most magnificent angels fear to tread – will surely unlock newfound joys this current world cannot provide us (Psalm 16:11). As I heed to the Holy Scriptures, I am content in knowing the Lord Jesus will give us rest, He will exceed our expectations, and He will be enough for us.
He is enough.
Side by side,