The fear of the wicked will come upon him,
And the desire of the righteous will be granted . . .
The hope of the righteous will be gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked will perish.
(Proverbs 10:24,28)

THERE IS A SENSE IN WHICH IT IS ONLY THE RIGHTEOUS WHO WILL GET WHAT THEY WANT. Eventually, those who have circumvented God’s will to obtain their desires will find that the satisfaction of their desires brought them not fulfillment but frustration.

The deceitfulness of sin is that it takes desires that God gave us and persuades us to fulfill those desires in illegitimate ways. Take sexual desire, for example. God gave us that desire and provided for its genuine fulfillment. When we, however, try to fulfill that desire in ways that God has forbidden, not only do we sin but we fail to get the thing we thought we were after. It may be momentarily pleasurable, but no amount of sexual immorality will ever be as gratifying in the long run as committed love within the marriage relationship. But that’s simply one example. The same thing can be said of any desire. Fulfill it in God-appointed ways and you’ll get what you want. Fulfill it in forbidden ways and you’ll eventually find yourself frustrated. “The hope of the righteous will be gladness, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.”

It’s arrogant to presume that we can take whatever we want, however we wish to get it, and then enjoy it as much as we want. We may, in fact, take whatever we want, but God has it within His power to withhold from us the enjoyment of what we’ve taken. In Ecclesiastes, we’re taught that the person who acquires “riches and wealth” may consider himself blessed only if God has also “given him the power to eat of it” (Ecclesiastes 5:19; 6:2). So getting what we want may turn out to be harder than we thought.

I believe two things are needful: (1) We need to be grateful for the hopes, aspirations, and desires that God has planted within our hearts, and (2) we need to be willing for those desires to be fulfilled on His terms. God wants nothing but the best for us. To seek anything other than His will for our lives is to put our feet on a path that leads to nothing but disappointment in the end.

“Man finds it hard to get what he wants because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give because he would give the best and man will not take it” (George MacDonald).

Gary Henry — +

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