I've had this on my mind for a few days, and I finally had to put it down on paper. It couldn't have been more than three or four days ago that this question came to my mind, and I've been turning it over in my head since then. Here is the question of the day which I pose to you (and we're just going to cut right to the chase here): What if the fact that we don't get what we want, when we want it, is one of the chief ways God shows massive amounts of grace to us? Or, put another way: what if God is giving us more than we ever deserve by denying us what we want?
Granted, it's not always the case. We all know of times when we wanted something and God graciously gave it to us. We've prayed and hoped and wished, and we got what we wanted. And of course we're grateful and overjoyed, because we got what we wanted. But other times, we pray for things, and God says no. Or -- and this is often worse -- He asks us to wait for it. We don't know that at the time -- at the time it feels like a "no" to our utterly human hearts. I would like to make the case that when we don't get what we ask for, or when we have to wait for what feels like ages before we get it -- these are the times that God is just as gracious as when He gives us what we ask for -- if not even more gracious.
I really wanted to title this post "Grace," but so much of what I post is about grace that I felt like I'd be using an awesome title for such a small thing, though this is becoming longer and longer the more I put thought into it (typical Sara).
Let's be real, y'all: What do we know? Honestly and truly, what do we know? Very, very little, in the grand scheme of things. I know that I, for one, don't know much. I'm twenty years old and I'm a junior (senior, according to my hours) in college, so the amount that I know is staggeringly little. When I look back at my life -- heck, even at just the year I've had -- I marvel at the way that God has worked in it. What I thought I wanted was not at all what I needed. When I felt like God was denying me what I wanted, He was preparing me for something better that I could never have seen coming. And how could I have known that at the time? There have been days when I was so impatient -- I remember when I lost my voice at AIMS and also possibly my mind, and definitely my temper. I was furious. I couldn't understand why God allowed that to happen. Typing it, I realize anew how small a thing it is. But that's how I felt, and in pretty recent history, too. I acted like a child because I didn't get what I wanted when I wanted it. But again: His timing was designed to teach me about how to take care of myself, if nothing else (and I'm 99% certain there was another purpose there, too -- to teach me some patience).
I submit that when we don't get what we want, or what we want when we want it, God is being so good to us that we can't even fathom it. We think He's being petulant, or that He's denying us something good, or something small, or whatever. And isn't that just like little children? We can't see what our parents see, so when they tell us no, or when they ask us to wait, we throw a temper tantrum. We can't see the good that is coming for us down the line.
Honestly, y'all, how do we know what's good for us and what's not? How do we have experience to know? All we can see is what we think is the best thing. But since we can only see approximately 1.5% of the grand plan (if that), how do we know? Who are we to presume that we know what's best for us?
All this is to say that the grand plan is way better than we could ever imagine. We couldn't possibly fathom what He has for us. So when He "denies" us what we think we want -- and I use that term incredibly loosely -- we don't have the right to be angry or to feel cheated. We aren't holding all the cards. We can't see. Something way better is in store. And when I say "way better," I mean an adventure. We don't typically dream adventures for ourselves -- they're hard and sometimes they suck. But He plans them for us and drops them on us when we aren't expecting them (for more on that, see yesterday's post). And, as tends to happen with Jesus, they're far more gorgeous than anything we could have dreamed up on our own. We'll look back in wonderment as we think of the smallness of our own plans and see what could have been -- or couldn't have been. When we don't get what we want, something that we didn't know we wanted or needed will fall into its place. It may not be what you like. Sometimes adventures aren't what you like. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and guarantee you that every adventure contains some crappy stuff. So it won't always be hunky dory.
But it will always be beautiful. And honestly, y'all, that's grace.
Grace is giving us beauty that we don't deserve in place of the nothing that we had coming to us.