Have you ever wanted something so badly that you’d be willing to put up with anything if you could have it?
I have. And apparently some people in the Bible have too. It didn’t go well for either of us.
I recently read a story in the book of 1 Samuel that the original Jews of Israel (“God’s chosen people”) were tired of just following God and some old prophet. They wanted a king for their people. Apparently all the other countries around them had kings. It was the trendy thing to have, I guess.
Well God said no. Then the people asked again. And then begged. Then pleaded. Finally, after many warnings about the problems and the bondage a king would cause them, God gave in. He gave them a king—they asked for this supposedly tall and super handsome guy named Saul—and…guess what? God was right. It was misery. The king took stuff from them, made their children work for him for little pay, and just generally made them feel not-free.
I can’t roll my eyes at these ancient people’s stupidity in this story. I’m just like them. I have so often forfeited God’s best for me so that I could get what I wanted. It has never worked out well. Probably the worst impatient mistakes I’ve made have had to do with men and relationships.
As I read about the people begging for a king the other day, I realized that had been me. Years ago I asked God for a husband. He didn’t deliver in my desired timing, so I begged and manipulated until I got what I thought I wanted. Within a couple months I realized I had gotten what I thought I wanted, but it was not what I had hoped for. It turned out my husband was an alcoholic and drug addict who had a love of going out with the guys and chatting up women who were not his wife.
I ended up in misery and captivity like the people of Israel. I spent several years trying to make it work, but the drugs and lies tore down any chance for fixing the marriage.
We tend to think we know what’s best for us. Sometimes we’d “sell our souls” to get it. But God knows best. His will is the best plan. Every time.
Psalm 84:10-12 tells how God’s plan for us is better than anything else. Verse 10 says being in God’s presence is better than anywhere else. In verse 12 it says God never holds back good things from those who truly follow him.
“A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!…For the Lord is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right…What joy for those who trust in You!”
God knows what I need, and every time I stray from his way I regret it. (For examples read my earliest blog posts that tell about my marriage mistakes.) I will leave you with a song that my dear Irish friend used to sing with her flute and her lovely accent:
“Jesus, all for Jesus;
All I am and have and ever hope to be;
Jesus, all for Jesus;
All I am and have and ever hope to be.
For it’s only in your will that I am free;
For it’s only in your will that I am free…”