- Hebrews 11:1
"And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect."
- Hebrews 11:39-40
I was taught once to thank God for everything I'm praying to Him about as if I've already received it. Faith meant to believe God would provide this thing I so desperately wanted. And I agree that it's good to have faith in God's generosity and grace. However, there's a second part to that. Sometimes the things we want are not actually God's plan for us. There are times when we'll want something so bad, and we'll pray to God for it, and God's answer is NO. Here's the thing. God doesn't just say no, He says, "I have something better planned." He can see the outcome of everything. He knows the best path we should take. He knows what will bring us closer to Him, and what is in our best interest.
Years ago, I started working at the newspaper. It had always been my dream to work there, and I finally got my foot in the door when I landed a job doing grunt work in the advertising department. Save for the usual work stresses, all was well with this job...until it wasn't. The newspaper was going through some tough times, and my job was next on the chopping block. I needed to find something else, or I was going to lose my job. As a single mother with no other source of income, this was not an option.
I discovered that one of our family's friends was hiring for a real estate secretary. I immediately applied. Then I told my parents about this job. My dad urged my mom to apply for this job, as well. As soon as I learned of this, I knew my chances of getting this job were none. My mom had a lot more experience than I did, and this family friend would hire her over me any day. I was furious with my parents, and I went into that interview with my sails deflated.
Needless to say, I did not get that job and my mom did. However, weeks later I learned of a new position at the company I worked for in page layout, the department that structured the newspaper every day. I applied, and the job was mine. I not only got a pay increase, I also was bumped from PT to FT. I got benefits, holiday pay, and vacation time. It was a huge step up! Later, this job would give me the legs I needed to move into the newsroom with a writing gig, and to see an even bigger boost in my pay and benefits.
Here's the kicker. A few months into the page layout position, I began seeing one of my coworkers. Things progressed between us, and we've now been married for 4 years. He is the love of my life. I never knew I could be loved so well by anyone.
Had I gained that job I wanted way back when, I never would have realized my dream of working in the newsroom, and I would not be married to my husband. This is unfathomable to me! I was asking God for something, and he said NO because he had something better planned.
Currently, I still work in the newsroom (and my mom is still very happy at the job she applied for...and we still love each other, lol). And times are still tough at the newspaper. My job requirements have increased and I often feel like collapsing at the end of my week because of the insane amount of stress I'm under. On the side, I'm also a novelist, and I pray daily that God will bless my novels and help them reach more readers, allowing me to sell enough books so that I can quit my day job. So far, God's answer has been NO. Or maybe God is saying NOT YET. Perhaps he is saying I HAVE A BETTER PLAN. This is my test to have patience and faith in God. He's always taken care of me, and he'll take care of me now. He knows what's best, and he has a plan. My job is to have faith and know that God has only the best plan in place.
God has a plan for you. He knows your heart's desire. He knows what you so desperately seek. Have faith that God will provide, but be open to receiving what God knows is best for you. Often, this will look like nothing you asked for. And often, it opens the door for something way better. So when you pray, don't be afraid to ask God for that thing you want with all your heart, but when you thank God, thank Him for taking care of you by giving you what you really need.
Grace and peace to you all.