Why does it seem that some people are showered with God’s blessings and others are left struggling? It’s especially frustrating for believers, because very often, it seems that the less godly the life a person leads, the more prosperous they become! This isn’t a new idea…the writer of Psalm 73 very eloquently touches on the subject. It’s a pretty long passage, and I encourage you to read the whole thing. But the highlights include:
Verse 3: For I was envious of the boastful,
When I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Verse 7: Their eyes bulge with abundance;
They have more than heart could wish.
Verses 12–14: Behold, these are the ungodly,
Who are always at ease;
They increase in riches.
The writer of this psalm is clearly frustrated. He is trying to live for God and struggling, while those who pursue their own selfish desires are living on Easy Street! Have you ever felt the same way?
All of this is easier said than done. Isaiah 55:8 reminds us:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord
Parents tell their children not to do certain things. In the moment, the child may want to know why and fail to understand the reasoning. But parents have life experience and knowledge that gives them the foresight to protect their children from danger.
God, as our Heavenly Father, is both all-knowing and all-powerful. It’s not necessary for us to understand His reasons. He, as the Creator of the universe, knows better than we do! A healthy dose of faith enables us to say, “Okay, Lord! I don’t get it, but I am trusting you.”
Sometimes, God doesn’t bestow certain “blessings” because He knows they may cause us more harm than good. For instance, let’s say you were admiring a gorgeous diamond ring. You longed for it, thought how beautiful it would look on your hand. You just knew that if you had that diamond ring, your social standing would be elevated, because everyone would see how successful you were by the sparkle on your finger.
What harm could come from owning a diamond ring??
What if your ring got caught on something and you sustained an injury to your hand? Or, what if the flash of that diamond was admired by the wrong person, and you were robbed and it was forcibly taken from you, leaving you physically hurt and emotionally traumatized? What if the cost prevented you from being able to afford an emergency expense you didn’t know was around the corner?
Another possibility is that certain types of success or material possessions may distance us from Him. We serve a jealous God who wants to be the focus of our attention. If material possessions distract us from His will, then as our Creator, He is well within His right to say, “No.”
A “No” from God isn’t easy to take, but He is the one in charge. The Bible uses the analogy of the potter and the clay. We, as the clay, cannot tell God, the potter, what to do! Part of our faith in God is to accept His “No’s” and “Wait’s” with the same thankful hearts we would have when He gives us “Yes’s.”
The Apostle Paul was familiar with “No” as an answer to his prayers. The Bible doesn’t says what Paul’s issue was, but there was something in his life that caused him anguish. He wrote about it in 2 Corinthians 12:7–10.
A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul accepted and trusted God, praising Him anyway. He continued his ministry, encouraging others and leading people to Christ.
Maybe you long for wealth. Or marriage. Or a baby. Whatever your heart yearns for…. When you see others around you receiving the blessings you crave, it’s easy to be jealous and question God, “Why not me, too?”
Instead of begging God for “Yes,” perhaps you need to shift your prayers to focus on His will instead. A prayer like this: “Lord, you’re clearly telling me ‘No.’ I don’t understand why. But I ask you to remove this desire from my heart and replace it with whatever you have planned for me.”
There is a verse that speaks of the desires of the heart that is often taken out of context. Many love to use this verse as an argument to make their case for why God should say, “Yes.” I am referring to Psalm 37:4:
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Taken by itself, it is understandable why so many misunderstand the message. However, I encourage you to keep reading the rest of the chapter:
Verse 3: Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Verse 5: Commit your way to the Lord,
Verse 7: Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Verse 17: But the Lord upholds the righteous.
Verse 34: Wait on the Lord, and keep His way.
But first and foremost, we are told to DELIGHT IN THE LORD. We are to put Him first in our lives with pure motives to make Him the GREATEST desire of our hearts, simply for the joy of being close to God, not because we expect something in return. Our ultimate gift has already been given (and is ours to receive!)—the opportunity for salvation and eternal life through the blood of Christ.
When we are following God’s will for our lives, the desires of our heart will line up with His will for our lives and the plans He has made for us.
Our greatest blessings will not happen in this lifetime, so don’t get too comfortable. In the glory of heaven, the luster of wealth, the sparkle of diamonds, and worldly “success” won’t matter. Remember, the streets of heaven are paved with gold…in heaven, something we deem valuable on earth is only good for paving a street! While the riches of this world will not last, something better is waiting for those who trust in the Lord and follow His will.
God has something amazing planned for me…and He has something amazing planned for you! Just wait!