Here are 3 signs that often mean the desire you have really is from God but it’s just not the right time to fully experience this desire like you want.
1. A Desire Is from God But It’s Not the Right Time to Have This Desire Fulfilled If You Need to Go Through a Journey of Preparation First
Before God will call you to do something for him, oftentimes he lets the desire build in your heart first. This is what happened to Moses. Before God actually called Moses to lead the people out of Egypt, God first let this desire build in Moses’ heart even though it wasn’t the right time for him to act on this desire.
In Acts 7:23-24 it states, “When [Moses] was forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brothers, the children of Israel. And seeing one of them being wronged, he defended the oppressed man and avenged him by striking down the Egyptian.”
In Acts 7:25-29 we are told that the Israelites were not ready to understand that God was going to deliver them through Moses, and in fear of Pharoah for killing the Egyptian Moses fled to Midian. There he was a shepherd for 40 years in the wilderness around Mount Sinai before God called him back to Egypt to lead the Israelites out of slavery (Acts 7:30, Exodus 3:1).
Notice that forty years before Moses was called to lead the people out of Egypt, the desire came into Moses’ heart to do this. But the time wasn’t right. From a practical perspective, Moses was prepared to shepherd Israel in the wilderness for forty years by practicing with real sheep in that same wilderness for forty years. Moses learned the land and learned to take care of a large group by doing this for forty years as a shepherd of sheep before being a shepherd of people. Moses also needed to first learn the truth about who God is before he was ready to help the people (Exodus 3:13-15).
Likewise, God will often put a desire in your heart but then he will put you through a season of training before he releases you to actually fulfill that desire in your heart.
2. A Desire Is From God If It’s a Biblical Internal Calling But You Need to Wait for the External Opportunity to Fulfill This Calling
I believe there are basically two questions that you need to answer if you want to know what your calling is from God. The first question is, “What gift has God given me that I enjoy using to serve other people?” And the second question is, “What need do people have that I can help them with?”
Sometimes you have a gift and an inner desire but you lack the opportunity to fulfill that calling. At other times there is a need in the world that God is telling you to fulfill even though you don’t particularly enjoy serving in this specific way. But when your desire to serve in a particular way intersects with a specific need that the world has, this is where God is usually calling you. An example of this can be seen in Philippians 1:21-26, which states:
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.”
Paul wanted to go home to the Lord, but he also had a desire to stay and serve those in need. His desire to go home to the Lord was not matched with an opportunity to serve people. But his desire to stay and serve the people was matched with a need by the people to be served by him. Thus, Paul knew where God was calling him. Paul had the inner desire and the external opportunity to fulfill that inner desire.
Likewise, you need both the internal calling and the external calling if a desire is from God and it’s the right time to fulfill that desire. If you have the inner calling but you lack the external opportunity to fulfill this calling right now, this may just mean that this desire you have is from God but it’s just not the right time.
For more on this topic, you may want to read my article, How to Know What Your Calling Is From God.
3. If This Desire Is Foreshadowing a Deeper Desire That God Can Only Fulfill in the Next Phase of His Redemption Story, This Is a Desire that He Will Fulfill But Not Right Now
Many people ask me things like, “Why would God give me a desire for marriage if he is keeping me single?” Or, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” Or, “Why won’t God answer this prayer of mine if I’m asking for a good thing?”
There are many layers to questions like these. God could be preparing you so he can bless you. God may be telling you to just keep waiting and at the right time he will bless you with a spouse or with that thing you have been praying for. But as we all know, life is always difficult and there is always some sort of unmet desire in our hearts.
Ultimately, every desire we have in this life is an echo of our deeper longing for the perfection we were originally made for and which we will experience one day when Christ returns and makes all things new.
Sometimes we have a deep desire that is being reflected through a surface desire. Ultimately our hearts are craving God’s perfect love but sometimes this craving gets expressed through our desires for other things.
If this is happening to you, the desire you have is from God but it won’t be fulfilled right now. As Revelation 21:1-4 explains:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’”
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