Several years ago, I was thumbing through a recent issue of Guidepost magazine and I came across a short story that has stuck with me for quite some time now. This story made its way into my Sunday School lesson that week with unexpected results, but that is a tale for a different time.
The story that was told was about a woman who lived in Alaska. During the long cold winters her husband was away most of the time at work. So in order to pass the time, she decided that it was time to do some spring cleaning. After all the short day was bright and sunny, even though the temperature outside the door was a chilly 40 degrees below zero.
After washing one of the windows in the living room and letting the sunshine in, she noticed a common house fly in the house. This fly was energized by the sunshine outside and flew into the window. After gathering itself back up, the fly decided that it was time for another attempt and it proceeded to fly straight into the window once again. After watching several attempts of the fly’s escape fail, she realized that the fly was seeing the beautiful sunshine outside of the house and wanted to get out. This small creature was determined to get out to the bright warm sun and escape the confines of the house.
Little did the fly know or understand that going outside would be deadly. The extreme cold would immediately kill the fly if it escaped the safety and warmth of the house. Regardless of how inviting the sunshine might have looked from the inside of the house, going outside was not the best option for the fly. Even though the fly tried with all its might to escape to the sunshine, it stayed in the house and thus stayed alive.
Sometimes we are like this fly. Sometimes we want something really badly, like going outside to be in the sunshine in Alaska. However, we don’t always realize that what we want is not the best thing for us.
In 1969, The Rolling Stones released the hit, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. The title of this song speaks volumes in terms of our relationship with God. You see, God doesn’t always give us what we want, sometimes He gives us what we need instead. Sometimes we don’t realize the gift that we have been given because we are too busy worrying over why we didn’t get what we wanted.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 2 Peter 1:3 NIV
The Bible doesn’t promise us that all of our prayers will be answered in the way that we want them to be. No where does Jesus guarantee us that we will get everything that we want. But the Scriptures are full of promises that God will give us what we need. We just have to be willing to trust in Him and accept His will in our lives. Once we do this, we will see our prayers answered right before our eyes. Not because we got what we wanted but rather because we will start to recognize what we need.
God doesn’t always give us what we want. God always gives us what we need. Recognize the need, acknowledge the gift, and rejoice in His blessings.
Have your prayers been answered in a manner that you didn’t see coming?