On several occasions I have preached a message entitled “When God Says ‘No'”. It is based on God choosing Solomon to build the temple rather than David. Although David desired to build the house of worship he was not allowed to do so. God however commended David by saying, “thou didst well in that it was in thine heart”.
I thought of that message last week when I had to make a certain painful decision. I must say, that sermon is easier to preach than practice. We can’t always do what we would like to do–regardless of how good it is. Were that the case my wife would be running an orphanage in some remote part of the world taking care of children– it is in her heart. God, however, decided to give her a different job description. And I must say she deals with it well. I tend to be more whiny when things don’t go my way. I know. That’s an embarrassing confession, but I’m trying to be honest. Sometimes we are more concerned about being pleased than we are about pleasing God.
Sometimes we can’t do what we would like because God doesn’t give us permission, but sometimes we can’t because we can’t. I recently started to write an article called “The Art of Aging” but decided that’s out of my league, for now. I don’t mind getting older, I just have a hard time adjusting to the physical limitations. I still have a desire to do things I used to do but I can’t. But I’m not alone. Many have it worse than I. At this moment there are many who have a great desire to serve God in various ways, but they can’t. There are dear saints in nursing homes, aged Sunday School teachers, and disabled preachers who have it in their heart to do things that they can’t. Their heart is willing, but their body, mind, or circumstances causes them to be unable to do what they would like to do. Not only do they have to deal with their desire being denied, they often worry about what others think–and that can be the toughest part. We should be more concerned with what God thinks about it. If you should do it you could do it.
My heart has been encouraged in this by knowing God knows it is in my heart, and that is enough to please Him. That’s all I wanted to do in the first place! What I wanted to do wasn’t important just because I had a desire to do it, but because it was pleasing to God– part of His plan for my life. Now I realize He has a different plan. It is a great blessing to know that God understands and says, “Well done”– although we didn’t do what we desired. God could have given me the ability to do what was in my heart, but He didn’t. He had a better plan and if I can’t be happy about that then I wasn’t qualified to do what I desired. So, having thought this through, I am now pleased that God is pleased with denying my desire. His will is all that matters!