When God Refuses our Desires
“Then I pleaded with Adonai. . . . Please! Let me go across and see the good land on the other side of the Yarden, that wonderful hill-country and the L’vanon!’ 26 But Adonai was angry with me on account of you, and he didn’t listen to me. Adonai said to me, ‘Enough from you! Don’t say another word to me about this matter! 27 Climb up to the top of Pisgah and look out to the west, north, south and east. Look with your eyes — but you will not go across this Yarden.” (Deuteronomy 3:23,25-27)
All of us have desires we wish to be fulfilled; that’s the nature of desire. However, not all our desires are met; why? That is the nature of Yahveh’s wisdom. As we see in Deuteronomy 3, Moses, the most humble of God’s servants, did not have one of his great desires met – to lead his people across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. This desire was denied him, not because he sinned against Yahveh at Kadesh (Numbers 20), as most people believe, but, as leader of his people, he was held accountable for the rebellious nature of Israel. Is there a generalization, a lesson for all of us, to be gleaned here?
Why would our Glorious and Magnificent Elohim refuse to fulfill our earthly desires? This answer lies with our Creator and our Creator alone; however, there are a few common truths which may help us find peace within our unfulfilled desires.
Yahveh is with us always and understands our life situations. As we read in Psalm 56:8, God is aware of all our sorrows and every tear which accompanies our pains, physical and emotional: You have kept count of my wanderings; store my tears in your water-skin — aren’t they already recorded in your book? He also is the perfect empathizer for us, if we but welcome Him into our pain, as we discover in 1 Peter 5:6,7 – Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that at the right time he may lift you up. 7 Throw all your anxieties upon him, because he cares about you.
Yahveh does hear our prayers. I truly do empathize with those who cry out to God for His mercies – women who want desperately to be mothers; men who wish to have that new job, which will allow them to better support their families; those with life-threatening diseases, who desire healing. These are understandable desires. How many of us, though, when praying to Yahveh for these heart-wrenching desires to be met, expect God to fulfill them? Do we have the right to expect He will grant our desires, simply because we ask Him? As unfair as it may seem in the moment, He does have reasons for saying no to our desires. Why He has answered our prayers with a negative response may come clear at some point in the future.
Yahveh does meet our true needs. All God’s children will have their true needs met by our Perfect Father. Rav Sha’ul, the Apostle Paul, shared his experiences as a recipient of Yahveh’s Goodness, as recorded in Philippians 4:12,13 – I know what it is to be in want, and I know what it is to have more than enough — in everything and in every way, I have learned the secret of being full and being hungry, of having abundance and being in need. I can do all things through him who gives me power. And, then, in Romans 8:32, Sha’ul proclaims, He who did not spare even his own Son, but gave him up on behalf of us all — is it possible that, having given us his Son, he would not give us everything else too?
Yahveh may deny us certain desires to keep us from sin and to draw us to righteousness. Are you able to predict your future? Can you say for certain how your life will turn out? If you are able, with certitude, to say yes to these questions, then you are a god. Obviously, if you did say yes, then you would be considered mentally ill, suffering from delusions of grandeur. No human being is able to do this on her/his own. Then why do we become so distraught, when Yahveh refuses to grant us our desire, if we know He is only acting for our righteousness? Ah, that’s the rub; do we really believe He is acting only for our righteousness or do we secretly believe He is acting out of a nefarious, hidden agenda designed to thwart our righteousness? If you believe the former, then praise Him for doing something which will be for your benefit; if you believe the latter, then this is the adversary, satan, you are really following and not Yahveh, the Almighty Elohim. Yahveh does not have a hidden agenda; He has made it very clear that He wishes all would choose to be saved, as we read in 1 Timothy 2:4 – He wants all humanity to be delivered and come to full knowledge of the truth. Sometimes, to help us achieve righteousness, He must deny us our desires. Questioning ‘why’ at the time is not at all productive, indeed it is counter-productive, as it creates doubt in His sovereignty and omnipotence. Our position at these moments is to place ourselves completely in His control.