I was once asked a riveting question by a young woman. She was heartbroken by personal failures and mistakes she had made. She confessed her eagerness in making those mistakes, and admitted she strongly desired them, even knowing they were destructive and wrong. She asked “how do I stop wanting destructive things?” This was my reply.
If we could stop wanting destructive things then our lives would be perfect and we’d understand why everything happens just the way it does. We’d be able to see that every hurt and pain is there to heal us of our selfishness and self destruction.The reason we often do feel hurt and pain is because we want something that is destructive for us but aren’t getting it.
When you feel those things, when you feel hurt, broken and sad, remember there is someone who sees further than you, who knows your future and who is in control of it all. Trust in Him.
Over the years I learned that our unanswered prayers, our unfulfilled desires are blessings in disguise. They always remind me that God knows better than me and my failed plans are evidence of it. Somehow, I learned to find comfort in my failures and my brokenness, it testifies to me that Jesus cares and that He won’t let me do this life thing alone. He sees what is around the corner and if it’s something harmful and destructive, He will hold me back, regardless of my pleas in order to protect me from going around that corner.
As long as we are in this flesh, I don’t think we will be able to stop desiring what is destructive and harmful to us. Our flesh is poisoned with selfishness and pride and it will demand its own. What we can do is, we can count on Jesus to withhold those desires from us and we can count on Him to protect us from the destruction we desire upon ourselves.
After all, what do you think it means to be purified like gold through fire?
“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10
What is affliction? It is just that. Our unanswered prayers, our unfulfilled desires. It is a way that God refines us, purifies us, purges us. Rids us of our selfishness and pride and enables us to depend on Him, to see Him standing there next to us, in the furnace of affliction. Just like he stood by the side of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
Why do you fall? Why do you fail and why do you feel down and broken?
“Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time.” (Daniel 11:35)
God didn’t forget about you. He loves you. The reason you stumble is that you may be refined, purified and made spotless.
“Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand.” (Daniel 12:10)
Those who belong to God do struggle, do fall and do feel down. They are often broken by life, or left disappointed and disillusioned, because that is the means by which God draws them to Himself in order to purify and refine them.
It is the wicked who live arrogant lives and who often get what they want. Always remember, people get what they want not because they belong to Jesus, often and sadly, it’s because they don’t.
A passage in Psalm, once really shook me up. I want you to mark this passage in your Bible and go to this passage every time you question God, every time you wonder why everything seems to fall apart in your life, every time your plans fail, every time you feel envious of those around you, or the rich, famous and beautiful. Read and reread this passage to understand…
Did you know that even David experienced envy for the wicked? He was jealous of them? Of their lives and their lifestyle. They always seemed to be on top. They were wealthy and loved. And David writes:
“For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” This is what the wicked are like–always carefree, they increase in wealth.”
Looking at the lives of these rich, famous, beautiful people, David himself dares to ask:
“Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain. So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!”
However, David doesn’t stop there, he explains further:
“Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.”
David saw the end of those people who get all that they want, their desires are like a slippery path, each one sliding them closer and closer to the abrupt cliff of final destruction. And if God didn’t keep our desires from us, so are ours.
Then, after realizing his error, David repents for his desire of a carefree, easy life:
“Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant–I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:3-26)
All of our flesh and our hearts may fail, we may desire that which is destructive as David did. Until He saw what the destiny of that desire was, until He saw what it was that God kept him from. Until he saw the end of those desires. It made him realize and it should make us realize, that even though we may fail and even though we may give in to our wicked, selfish desires, God wont. We can count on God to be the strength of our hearts and we can count on Him to keep those selfish desires from us.
Your flesh and your heart may fail, but God is the strength of your heart and your portion forever.