My Mama used to say, “You’ve got a bad case of the I wants!” She was right, and I still have them.
From the days when Jordache, Gloria Vanderbilt and Calvin Klein jeans ruled, I was never satisfied with my Levi’s. My beer pocket book and champagne taste, (another saying of my Mom’s), have always been diabolically opposed.
Over the years my wants grew from designer jeans to cars, houses, and the perfect image of success. I wanted it all and I didn’t mind working hard to get. So, off to work I went… and eventually the American Dream paid off. I had the complete package. A happy family, beautiful house, cars and a closet full of designer jeans. Plus a full time job in ministry- my dream life was complete.
God was so good to me!
So good… that He couldn’t leave me there.
Where was I you might ask? I was caught in the trap of believing that if you work hard, live right, and love God with all your heart then everything here on earth works out to your advantage. I mistakenly thought that the material rewards of my hard work where somehow connected to God’s love and His approval.
Then I got sick and God blew up my theology.
I wanted Him to miraculously heal me without traditional medicine. He didn’t.
I wanted Him to protect me from pain and the side effects of the medicine. He didn’t.
I wanted to know why He allowed me to suffer so much. He was strangely silent.
Instead of answering my wants, He answered my needs. By withholding what I wanted He opened my eyes to see what I truly needed.
I needed unshakable faith.
I needed to develop perseverance.
I needed joy that wasn’t determined by my circumstances or the jeans in my closet.
Today, I still want. I want all that life has to give and I’m not ashamed to admit it. But now, more than material things, I want health and more time. I want to not freak out when I get a bad doctors report or when my teenager makes a bad decision. I want to consider my trials joy. I want peace that surpasses my understanding. And most of all I want to be counted among the faithful when I stand before God. I want to not lack anything and I realize that this is God’s goal for me too.
I am thankful for the pain and suffering God allowed me to experience. While I haven’t yet attained the goal of maturity, I have come to the place of realizing that suffering and trials are the tools God uses to develop us. I’m thankful He loves us enough to give us what we need and not what we want.
This is my prayer for you too! May God always give us what we need and not what we want.