What does the Bible say about receiving things God has not given you yet? Here are 5 biblical things you should do when you want something good but God has not given it to you yet.
1. When You Want Something Good That God Has Not Given You Yet, the Bible Says to Keep Praying for It
There are many biblical reasons for why God does not give us everything we want. If we want something but we are not asking God for it (James 4:2), if we want something for selfish reasons (James 4:3), or if something is just not God’s will (1 John 5:14), God won’t give it to you. But according to Matthew 7:7-11, God is eager to bless us with good things when we ask him. So if you want something good like a healthy marriage, healing, or a thriving ministry, why would God not give you these good, biblical things?
Sometimes God isn’t saying “no.” Sometimes he’s just saying “not yet.” It’s not always possible, however, to know which one God is truly saying to you. So if you are unsure, the Bible says it’s good to keep asking for a good thing even if you are unsure if God is saying no or not yet. For example, in Romans 1:9-13, Paul wrote:
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.”
Paul had a good desire to lovingly serve these people. God had called Paul to preach the gospel and strengthen the church. So why wouldn’t God answer this good request by Paul? We don’t know. Paul didn’t know. He therefore assumed that his prayer might one day be answered and so he kept praying for it while also submitting to the will of God regardless of whether God ever would give him what he wanted.
2. The Bible Says You Must Be Humble Enough to Hear God Say No to a Good Thing When It Is Not His Best for You
It’s not wrong to keep praying for something that you know is good and biblical. But sometimes God does make his no very clear to us, and at that point the Bible tells us to be humble enough to accept this so we can move forward and not get stuck in life.
For example, Jesus wanted his Father to spare him of the cross. In Matthew 26:39-41, he prayed:
‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’ . . . Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, ‘My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’ . . . he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.”
Jesus repeatedly asked his Father to be spared of the cross but he also was humble enough to accept God’s no. Jesus then switched his prayer focus to ask the Father for strength to do this task he did not want to do (Hebrews 12:2).
Likewise, it’s good to repeatedly pray for something you want. But when it becomes clear God is truly saying no, we have to be humble enough to accept this. Don’t pridefully pray something you know is not God’s will. Eventually, you have to switch your prayer focus and ask God to give you the strength to do what you don’t want to do.
God gave Jesus the ability to do what he didn’t want to do. And God will also give you the strength to do what he is calling you to do too even if you have to go without something good.
As Philippians 2:5-8 states, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus . . . And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
3. When You Want Something Good that God Isn’t Giving You, the Bible Says to Remember that We Reap What We Sow
Many times God is delaying a blessing because we are not following the biblical path that leads to that blessing. It’s so easy to try to claim the promises of God while forgetting the precepts of God – meaning, God’s blessings are always surrounded by God’s commands. If we want God’s blessings, we have to live God’s way. As Galatians 6:7-9 teaches us:
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
This doesn’t mean we must earn good things from God through a work’s relationship with him. But when grace is truly working in our lives, it causes us to obey God and follow his paths to blessings (1 Corinthians 15:10). When we want the blessing but we are ignoring the effects his grace always causes on those who truly receive it, we are deceiving ourselves.
If you want something biblical, you have to live a biblical life (Psalm 84:11).
4. When You Want Something Good that God Hasn’t Given You Yet, the Bible Says to Seek Serenity in What Cannot Be Changed and Courage in What Does Need to Be Changed
The Serenity Prayer isn’t in the Bible, but the principles in this prayer are biblical. It reads:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.” -Reinhold Niebuhr
God has not promised to always answer our prayers in the exact way that we want. But he has promised to answer those prayers which are in alignment with his will and he has promised to bring our hearts peace when we turn to him. As Philippians 4:4-7 states:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Through prayer, God will give you the power to change anything you need to change that will then allow God to bless you with what you are asking for. But through prayer, God will also give you peace in Christ that surpasses understanding even when you don’t have what you want. As Paul continued to say in Philippians 4:12-13, which states:
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
5. When You Want Something Good That You Don’t Have on This Earth, the Bible Says to Always Remember Our Desires Here Are an Echo of the Blessings Christians Will Have in Full for All Eternity
God really does desire to bless you with good while you are on this earth. Ask him for what you want. Pray in faith for those good longings he has given you. Don’t lose hope in God’s power. Your blessing may be right around the corner.
But this life is not our ultimate destination. There will always be unmet longings in our hearts when we are on earth because our hearts long for perfection, and this earth will never be perfect. And so, we must remember that God’s ultimate answer to our every request will be fulfilled in full through our perfect union with him in eternity. This hope for eternity will keep your heart alive while on this earth. As Romans 8:23-25 states:
And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
May we have the biblical hope that causes us to be patient on earth as we await God’s full blessings through Jesus for all eternity.
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