Jesus’ promise, “Ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7), has prompted me many times since childhood to ask for things from God: a mansion, a pet sugar glider, a flying robot cat, a career as a pop star like Hannah Montana—even wizarding powers. I’ve also asked for more reasonable things—a best friend, a little brother, a husband. And though God is a generous and loving Father, the years have taught me that His purpose is greater than satisfying my every earthly desire.
When God answers requests like those above, He usually says “no” or “wait.” In my experience, the “no” answers were things that I was selfishly asking for or that were not part of His plan for my life. As I reflect on it, maybe that’s why “no” has been easier to deal with—“no” is usually definitive. But a period of waiting for “yes” can go on for years, and it can be easy to lose hope or even doubt the Lord’s plans.
In a daily devotion, Dr. Stanley once said, “The Scriptures contain many stories of people who waited years or even decades before the Lord’s promises came to pass. What modern believers can learn from the patience of biblical saints like Abraham, Joseph, David, and Paul is that waiting upon the Lord has eternal rewards.” I could have used that quote when I started my job search just after getting out of college.
The coronavirus pandemic had just hit the world, devastating the lives of millions and wrecking the job market. And like many others seeking work, I felt hopeless as a recent graduate without “a master’s degree or higher” and “five years of relevant experience.” I looked for seven months with not so much as an interview. Job searching is, at its best, a daunting task, and waiting for that long to get any kind of positive feedback took my already low hopes and crushed them.
“Waiting upon the Lord has eternal rewards.”
I finally came to a revelation one day when I reread John 15:7: “If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” I had thought God was making me wait for something that I wanted and badly needed, and here Jesus seemed to be telling me that I should have it. Yet after researching, I found what He had truly meant: that if our hearts are open to the Spirit’s guidance, our desires align with the will of the Lord, and we will eventually receive what we have yearned for. Here I had been relying on my own power to find a job, and though I had been praying it would happen, I had not stopped to consider first what God’s will might be.
Once I started to really pray and be in the Word, I started to trust Him more. I knew that He would lead me to whatever His plan held for me. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait much longer for God to move. I soon started to see relevant positions appear—ones that I was actually qualified for, and some were finally interested in me! I knew this change had to be from above.
I looked for seven months with not so much as an interview.
Eventually, a perfect job opportunity presented itself. I had to be very patient through the interview process, and my anxiety was high, but simultaneously, God gave me His promised perfect peace. Eventually, on Good Friday of all days, an email came that I had been eager for: my dream job had accepted me. I was overjoyed, and I knew that every bit of this blessing was from the Lord. Because I had seen that God had provided for me in such a big way, I was encouraged to trust Him more in all areas of my life.
The act of releasing control to God is something that seems unnatural, and it still takes effort on my part to do so. But trusting God with more than just my salvation has been one of the greatest decisions of my life. Everything is not about me—it’s about Him. I am not at the center of my life—He is. And living for Him now is the only way to truly succeed, storing up treasures in heaven rather than on earth, no matter how nice it would be to have a flying robot cat, a husband, or a mansion. Patience and trust are far worthier goals, and they’re what God wants from us—if we’ll just let go and allow Him to guide us onward.
Illustration by Adam Cruft