Living with Unfulfilled Desires
All Face Unfulfilled Desires in Life.
God Want Us to See Them?
A chronically ill person longs to regain his health.
A woman who cannot conceive desires a dear child of her
own. A man burdened under a job he hates longs to have
a more rewarding position. A young person with few abilities
desires to achieve some success in life. A single man or
woman longs to be married and know the companionship of
a spouse. A woman divorced by a cruel man desires remarriage
and the security of a good husband. A family that experiences
dreadful poverty longs to escape their plight and find
more suitable housing.
We all have desires in life. Some of these may be
within Gods will while others may be opposed to His
will. How should we look upon desires that seem to be good
and right, yet God does not fulfill them regardless of
how often we pray and how thoroughly we try to change our
circumstances? How does God look on our unfulfilled desires
and what does His Word say to us about them? Hopefully
this booklet will give you some insight into this troubling,
perplexing, yet universal problem.
with Unfulfilled Desires
There are great extremes in the wide spectrum of living.
Some are like the rich man in Jesus story. He was a
person who dressed in fine clothes and was "joyously
living in splendor every day" (Luke 16:19). He may well
have enjoyed good health and had a happy, respectable family.
It seemed like everything went well for him. On the other
hand, Lazarus was a "poor man" who was sick, malnourished,
and probably lived in great pain (vv. 20-21). The record
says that Lazarus "longed" to have even discards
from the rich mans table. He probably desired healing,
full health, and a normal home life. However, the poor mans
desires were never satisfied in this lifeand probably
many of our own legitimate desires will go unfulfilled in
our earthly life.
Perhaps you are a blind person, confined to perpetual darkness.
You never gaze at
the radiant sunrise, the azure sky, the serenity of sunset,
and the star-filled night. Never do you see the yellow daffodils,
the red rose, or the pink carnation. Never can you take a
regular book in hand and read its pages of inspiration and
wisdom. Never can you look into the face of your parents,
your spouse, your child, or your friend. Surely, if given
the choice, you would want your sight and would consider
it to be a priceless treasure.
Imagine yourself as a quadriplegic (or even a paraplegic),
having no use of your legs or arms and no feeling below your
neck. You are entirely at the mercy of your family or an
institution to do for you what you cannot do for yourself.
If you are a child, you would like to run and play and explore
with the other children. If you are somewhat older, you have
desires for a marriage partner, a family, and a "normal," active
life. You cannot so much as feed yourself, wash yourself,
clothe yourself, or tend to your bodily needs. Would you
be content? Would you not have to cope with a wide array
of unfulfilled desires?
Since we have mortal bodies, each of us will experience
physical infirmities in life. Some will have arthritis, diabetes,
asthma, emphysema, or colitis. Others will suffer with cancer,
heart disease, or kidney failure. Whoever we are, hundreds
of different influences may affect our bodies and these bring
pain, disability, physical limitations, and eventual death.
While good nutrition, reasonable health practices, and medical
treatments may alleviate some of these afflictions, we still
know that we have fragile bodies that must continue on a
downward course until eventual death (cf. Gen. 3:19; Eccles.
12:1-8; Heb. 9:27).
Maybe you are a woman who, because of a necessary surgery,
is unable to have a child of your own. You observe children
playing and you long to have your own offspring. Every time
a friend gives birth to a child, your own heart cries out
to God for children of your own, but you know this is impossible.
Like Rachel of old, you cry in your grief, "Give me
children, or else I die" (Gen. 30:1), but no children
are given. However much you crave to carry, bear, and raise
a precious little one of your own, it can never be.
Your problem may be finances. Because of a variety of limitations,
you may never be able to earn a great amount and have an
abundance. Perhaps you have no education, training, or abilities
to find lucrative employment, thus you are confined to low-paying,
menial work that cannot seem to pay the bills. Or you have
many children and cant seem to find adequate housing,
food, health care, or clothes for your family. You just cant
seem to make ends meet and life becomes a continual burden.
You may be a husband whose wife divorced you to marry another
man. The wife whom you trusted has been unfaithful and your
heart seems to be overwhelmed in pain as you reach out in
unrequited love and devotion. All of your efforts toward
reconciliation are rebuffed by a hardened heart. Furthermore,
since your wife divorced you, you realize that for you to
remarry would be adulterous in the sight of God (Luke 16:18;
Matt. 5:32; 19:9). You are faced with the grievous prospect
of living in celibacy the remainder of your life. Your desire
for further marital intimacy will never be fulfilled.
You may be a young man or woman (or an older man or woman)
who has never married and yet this has been a continual longing
of your heart. You prayed for marriage, you planned for marriage,
and you prepared yourself for marriage. You have a deep inner
longing for a mate with whom you may share your life and
your body. You want to share the joys and pain, the victories
and the struggles of life with a precious life partner. Year
by year it seems like the human possibilities for marriage
are more and more remote, yet you refuse to lower your moral
and spiritual standards in seeking a marriage partner.
Maybe you recently came to Christ, thus your children did
not have the benefit of Christian training when they were
growing up. Now that you have been saved, you are seeking
those things which are above (Col. 3:1-2) and are seeking
first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).
But your children do not share this perspective. Your son
may be living a dissolute life of sex, drink, and drugs.
Your daughter may have lost her "innocence" or
virginity and is now living in fornication with a boyfriend.
In fact, all of your children may live lives of disobedience,
disrespect, worldliness, and spiritual unconcern. Regardless
of your longing, your past cannot be undone and your children
may never be reclaimed and brought to faith in Christ.
You may be a woman who has prayed fervently for many years
that your husband would turn to Christ, but as yet he seems
to be as far away as ever. He may allow many worldly influences
in the home and want you to join him in his carnal pursuits
(2 Cor. 6:14-17). It seems like the marriage is filled with
such sadness and spiritual emptiness. Your desires for your
husbands salvation and a truly united marriage and
family have thus far remained unfulfilled.
Again, suppose that you have had the privilege of sharing
the gospel of Christ with a dear friend, then had the joy
of seeing this person respond to the Lord in complete repentance,
committed faith, and then being baptized into Him. Suppose
further that you helped to nurture this dear sister (or brother)
in the ways of God, teaching her to observe all that Christ
commanded (Matt. 28:20). You rejoiced to see her willingness
to suffer rejection and deprivation for the sake of Jesus.
For years, you had sweet fellowship with this fellow-believer,
you worshiped with her, prayed with her, sang uplifting hymns
with her, and reached out and taught others with her help.
You shared your time, your substance, and your very life
with this fellow-saint. You often encouraged each other in
the ways of the Lord and together you looked forward to the
coming of the Lord and His glorious kingdom. And then the
sister allows sin to enter her life and chooses to walk away
from Him who died for her (Heb. 10:26-31; 2 Peter 2:20-22).
She refuses to see you or talk to you, and she walks in her
own self-chosen path, away from the sound teaching she once
embraced. You fervently pray hundreds of times for her and
do all that you can to reach herall to no avail. As
in the other illustrations above, you must face unfulfilled
desiresthe desire for her repentance, her restoration,
and her reclaimed allegiance to the Lord who died for her
and continues to love her.
So many other examples could be offered but these are sufficient
to show that we may encounter many desires in life that remain
unfulfilled. We do not refer to carnal, worldly desires that
would displease God, but we refer to legitimate desires that
are normal and may be used to glorify the Lord.
Have Had Unfulfilled Desires
Even those men and women mentioned in the Scriptures experienced
unfulfilled desires, proving that our situation is not unique.
The hope of Moses to enter the promised land of Canaan was
never fulfilled (Deut. 31:2). Davids desire to build
the temple of God did not come to fruition (1 Chron. 28:2-3).
Jesus longing for the repentance of the people of Jerusalem
was, for the most part, unfulfilled (Matt. 23:37). Hebrews
11 gives us a view of many men and women of faith who lived
for God, who were faithful in adversity, and who died with
unfulfilled desires. "All these, having gained approval
through their faith, did not receive what was promised" (Heb.
11:39). Just as in these cases, surely every one of Gods
people today must live with some degree of unfulfilled desires.
Think also of the apostle Pauls experience. When the
Lord appeared to Ananias and told him to visit Paul, He said, "I
will show him how much he must suffer for My names
sake" (Acts 9:16). Pauls life indeed was a life
of suffering for the sake of Christ! He wrote, "To this
present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly
clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we
toil, working with our own hands" (1 Cor. 4:11-12a).
He said that he was reviled, persecuted, slandered and had
become as "the scum of the world, the dregs of all things" (vv.
12-13). He said that he was a servant of God "in much
endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in
beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness,
in hunger" (2 Cor. 6:4-5). We went on to say, "I
have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights,
in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure" (2
Apart from such external sufferings, Paul experienced inward
struggles in life: "We were burdened excessively, beyond
our strength, so that we despaired even of life" (2
Cor. 1:8). He continued, "Our flesh had no rest, but
we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears
within" (7:5). He wrote of the "daily pressure" of
concern for the spiritual welfare of others. He spoke of
the "intense concern" for those who chose to walk
in sin (2 Cor. 11:28-29). Paul longed to see unity among
his converts, but often he found strife and division. He
desired to see people walking in the truth, but he often
saw people willing to embrace error. He desired to see people
come to Christ, but he often saw people refuse to accept
the gospel. He longed to see his fellow-laborers remain true
to the Lord, but he often found that people turned away from
Him, having loved this present world. Paul did not find the
fulfillment that he must have longed for, yet he did not
allow this unfulfillment to dominate his life. What Paul lacked in
physical and material fulfillment and even in the fulfillment
of knowing that his fellow-believers remained faithful, he gained in
the "surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus [his]
Lord" (Phil. 3:8; cf. vv. 4-14).
You may think of your own heart desire. Regardless of heartache,
tears, pain and grief, your desires are unmet. You have sought
for answers, you have prayed repeatedly, you have tried every
conceivable avenue you can think of, but the situation remains
unchanged. All of us to one degree or another have experienced
these feelings and longings. Some of us, of course, have
experienced much more unfulfillment in life. It seems like
some people enjoy much health, a number of true friends,
a faithful and loving marriage partner, respectful and obedient
children, a fulfilling profession or occupation, sufficient
finances to live comfortably, and enough leisure to have
rest and relaxation. But even in such cases, there will be
various unfulfilled desires. Many others, however, will go
through life with debilitating and painful illness, a broken
marriage and irresponsible children, grinding and burdensome
poverty, few or no true friends, a horrible job, and difficult
circumstances every day. Their entire life is one of unfulfillment.
to Christ as the Basis of Fulfillment
If you have never been spiritually born into Gods
family (therefore are not a child of God), it may be that
these difficulties in life will serve a useful purpose. When
life does not go well and we must live under unchangeable
circumstances, we can understand more fully that this life
simply is not meant to provide ultimate satisfaction. Actually,
you may be in a better position than
others who live lives which seem to be overflowing with material
abundance, physical health, and worldly pleasure. When everything
seems to be going well, people think that they do not need
God. They may continue through their life in this self-deception
and self-satisfaction, therefore they never sense their spiritual
need. And they may also die in that condition, "separate
from Christ, . . . having no hope and without God in the
world" (Eph. 2:12). Most people do die without God and
will not enter the wonderful kingdom of God (Luke 12:16-21;
1 Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8).
Because of this, it may be to your advantage if you deeply
recognize that this life has many sorrows, pains, and unfulfillments.
You may be in a better position to
renounce your sins and come to Christ. Because of our sin,
we stand guilty and condemned before a holy God (Romans 1:18;
3:23; 6:23). Because we could not save ourselves from the
just penalty of death and hell, God sent His beloved Son,
Jesus Christ, to deal with our sin problem (John 3:16; 1
Tim. 1:15). The Lord Jesus died for those sins! Jesus died
for you (Romans 3:24-26; 5:6-11)! God then raised
Him from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-4). Based on these amazing
facts about Christ Jesus, your own sins can be forgiven and
youeven youcan receive eternal life (Acts
13:38; 1 John 5:11-13). As you remain in Christ and continue
in faithfulness to Him and His will, you are assured of eternal
life to come and a place in Gods wondrous, eternal
kingdom (Revelation 2:11; Matt. 25:46; 2 Peter 1:10-11; John
Can you see now that if you are not presently
in Christ, God may be using your difficult life circumstances
to lead you to Him and a far better and
more wondrously beautiful future than you otherwise would
have? Consider this: Would you rather have a pleasant life
with everything going well for you nowor would you
rather have hard times now but everlasting pleasure and joy
in the life to come? The answer should be obvious! Therefore,
let your present unfulfilling circumstances motivate you
to come to God while you may. Repent of your sins and believe
in God and in His beloved Son. Confess Jesus as Lord and
be baptized into Him, into His death, and then rise to walk
in newness of lifea life of joy and peace in Christ
your Redeemer! (See Acts 20:21; 26:18,20; 16:31-34; 2:36-41;
Romans 10:9-10; 6:2-11).
If we have been rescued from the guilt of our sin, from
spiritual death, and from the coming wrath of God and the
lake of fire, we have the basis of true fulfillment.
If we have been received by God Himself, if we have sweet
fellowship with Him through Christ each day, and if the future
riches of heaven are before us, we have the greatest
fulfillment already! While many other elements
make up our life simply because we are in a fleshly body
and dwell on earth, and some of these elements may never
find fulfillment during our short stay here, we
can still enjoy a fulfillment of spiritual realities now
and enjoy spiritual fulfillment in the life to come!
to Counsel and Comfort
If you are a child of God, the Scriptures offer many truths
that will help to make sense out of the many unfulfilled
desires that we have and will continue to have as long as
we dwell on earth. Overarching all of the Fathers dealings
with us, His children, is His unfathomable love. This
love is a genuine regard for our highest good. Often our
own life is tainted with self-interest, but the love of God
is a sincere concern for our welfare. One hymn-writer expressed
Gods love in these familiar words:
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure,
saints and angels song.
Such love will be found as the basic motivation in Gods
dealings with us, His children. As we make the following
observations, remember that God loves you with a love far
surpassing your ability to comprehend. Particularly if you
are a child of God, you are a recipient of His love in Christ
Jesusan incredible love that "surpasses knowledge" (cf.
Romans 8:38-39; Eph. 3:19; 1 John 3:1-2). We may rest our
assurance on this.
First, we must remember
that God understands our life situation and will be with
No one else may be able to fully perceive what you are going
through. You try to explain the ache in your heart after
your husband leaves you for another woman, and people try to
understandyet you know that they just cannot feel what
you feel. You try to share with others the continual grief
you have in being married to an unbeliever and sharing life
with someone you know is under Gods wrathbut
it seems like people simply cannot understand the inner sorrow
and unfulfillment you experience and the desire you have
for a spouse who deeply loves Christ as you do. You try to
describe your heart desire for a marriage partner, but peopleespecially
happily married peoplejust cant seem to grasp
However, God does know! He sees every tear drop and they
are all recorded in His "book" (Psalm 56:8). He
has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever
forsake you" (Heb. 13:5). Jesus also is able to "sympathize
with our weakness" and will stand with us in our time
of need, although everyone else may depart (Heb. 4:15; 2
Tim. 4:16-17). Therefore, you can trust in the Lord! We have
the comforting promise: "[Cast] all your anxiety upon
Him, because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7; cf. Psalm
Second, God will hear
us when we pray.
It may be that you have prayed and prayed for answers to
your unfulfilled desires, but it seems like God does not
really hear. It is true that various factors may keep God
from answering your prayerssuch as walking in sin,
closing our hearts to truth, living unrighteously, lack of
faith, and other elements (cf. Psalm 66:18; Prov. 15:8; 28:9;
1 Peter 3:12; James 1:6-8). But even when we walk before
the Lord in sincerity, truth, and obedience, it seems like
some of our prayers are not answered. I, personally, have
prayed thousands of prayersfor many yearsand
find that God does not grant many of my petitions. However,
in spite of this lack of response, if we are walking with
God, we must have a firm assurance that God indeed is listening
to our prayers and will grant them according to His will
(1 John 5:14-15).
We are not like the pagans who cry out to false "gods" who "do
not hear" (Psalm 135:17; cf. vv. 15-18; 1 Kings 18:25-29).
Rather, we pray to the true and living God who is our own
heavenly Father! Jesus said, "If you then, being evil,
know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more
shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those
who ask Him!" (Matt. 7:11). Remember that when you pray
about desires that remain unfulfilled, you have a loving,
merciful Father who is listening to your wordsand even
perceives the thoughts of your heart which you cannot put
into words (cf. Romans 8:26-27; Psalm 139:1-2,23). His throne
is a "throne of grace" and we may approach Him
for mercy (Heb. 4:16).
Third, God will provide
for our true needs.
Paul said that sometimes he "suffered need" (Phil.
4:12), but such needs had been relieved from time to time
(v. 16). He went on to write: "My God shall supply all
your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (v.
19). Notice that God will not necessarily supply our "wants" or "desires," but
He will meet our genuine needs.
Our trouble is that sometimes we confuse our wants with
our needs. We want another
house. We want a child. We want marriageor remarriage.
We want to live in another part of the country. We want another
job. It may be that some of these "wants" are legitimate needs but
maybe they arent the kind of needs that God chooses
to fill. God who knows us better than we know ourselves (remember
that He made us!) also knows our true needs.
If we knew all of the hidden factors involved, as our all-wise
and all-knowing God does, we would see that many of our desires
are not fulfilled because they are not really needful and
for our ultimate good.
Referring to the necessities of life, Jesus said, "Your
heavenly Father knows that you need all these things" and "all
these things shall be added" to those who "seek
first His kingdom and His righteousness" (Matt. 6:32-33).
We have the need of food, drink, and clothing (v. 31), and
God will generally graciously provide. We may want tasty
food and fine clothing, but such things are not really needful
(and may be harmful). God has not only given us His Son (the
greatest gift), but he will "freely give us all things" we
need (Rom. 8:32).
We should cultivate a special contentment with
present circumstances, even when some aspects of these circumstances
are not fulfilling. We must realize that God has provided
and will provide everything we need. This was a lesson that
Paul learned through his adversities as a persecuted believer.
While being confined as a prisoner for Christs sake,
he wrote, "I have learned to be content in
whatever circumstances I am" (Phil. 4:11). Later he
said, "Godliness actually is a means of great gain,
when accompanied by contentment" (1
Tim. 6:6; cf. vv. 7-10). If we develop this quality of contentment
with what God provides, unfulfilled desires will not be the
burden they otherwise would be. We will surrender to Gods
gracious providence, content in the knowledge that He will
give what He knows we need.
Fourth, our heavenly Father
will give what is for our good.
We previously noticed that God will "give what is good" to
those who ask Him (Matt. 7:11). When the psalmist declared, "The
LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want" (Psalm 23:1),
he is saying that since we have a Shepherd who lovingly cares
for us (His sheep), we will not suffer need. But compare
this with Psalm 34:9-10: "To those who fear Him, there
is no want. . . . They who seek the LORD shall not be in
want of any good thing." We
shall not be in "want" or shall have no unmet need
of any "good thing."
One problem is that, in our ignorance, some things we call "good" are
not really for our spiritual good. And, conversely, some
things we label as "bad" are actually for our ultimate
good. God knows the difference. The more that we know of
the ways of God and have the mind of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 2:16;
Phil. 2:5), the clearer will be our insight into what is
really for out good. The psalmist wrote, "Delight yourself
in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm
37:4). The more that we delight ourselves in God and His
ways, the more accurately the desires of our heart will reflect
His desires or His will for us.
In another psalm, we read, "No good thing does
He [God] withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of
hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You!" (Psalm
84:11b-12). Since no "good thing" will be withheld
from us, we may be assured that if God does withhold the
fulfillment of our desire, it actually was not for
our good. I believe that this is an answer to many of our
present unmet desires, but it is hard to accept, isnt
it! Perhaps this is why the psalmist immediately declares, "How
blessed is the man who trusts in You!" It requires trust
or faith to accept this truth. Pauls words, in a different
context, say something similar: "We walk by faith, not
by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). We go beyond mere appearances,
beyond what our circumstances seem to be, and trust that
God really knows what He is doing in our lives. Trust is
the key to seeing God in all our life circumstances.
Fifth, God may graciously
keep certain desires unfulfilled to keep us from sin
and to lead us to righteousness.
Not only will God give us what we need, but He will also
sometimes keep us from what would be for our harm. Could
it be that something as tragic as blindness may keep us from
sin? Since the eyes can often lead us to sin (Matt. 5:29-30;
1 John 2:15-17), perhaps God allows blindness to prevent
this form of sin. Could it be that lack of a desired marriage
is for our good? Since celibacy may give one the opportunity
to serve the Lord without as many distractions (1 Cor. 7:32-35),
perhaps even a lack of this blessing can turn out for good.
Could it be that the death of a precious child has a merciful
outcome? If we believe that a child is received by our precious
Father and that he or she will be with Him eternally, it
may be that even this sorrowful tragedy is not totally without
good. Could it be that material or financial lack also has
a spiritual purpose in Gods plan? Maybe even this tragedy
will cause us to trust in God more completely and make us
long for the complete fulfillment of Gods paradise
where the deprivations of life will be past.
While we may not be able to see the reasons for unfulfilled
desires, God can see them and can use them to keep us from
sinful attitudes and actions. He can use these life tragedies
to spur us on to holiness and righteousness (Heb. 12:7-11,14).
The psalmist wrote, "Before I was afflicted I went astray,
but now I keep Your word" (Psalm 119:67). Unfulfillment
and the suffering that accompanies it may be used to draw
us closer to God and away from the evil that could so easily
cause us to fall. Paul discovered this when his "thorn
in the flesh" (perhaps a chronic and painful physical
affliction that came because of his service for Christ) was
not removed by the Lord even after repeated prayers. Paul
was able to say, "I am well content with weaknesses,
with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties,
for Christs sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2
Cor. 12:7-10). He was willing to suffer this undesired malady
if it would bring spiritual strength and blessing.
Sixth, there will be aspects
of our life that we simply cannot understand but must
commit to God.
If you are like most people, you want to be able to see
how all of the aspects of your life have meaning. You want
to understand how a chronic illness, how the death of your
child, how the unfaithfulness of your spouse, or how continual
financial difficulties have some rational purpose. You want
some good to come out of the present distress you now have.
It may be that God will give you the wisdom to see the good
in these things or at least see how they may be "blessings
However, there will probably be many longings we have in
life that simply cannot be explained. We may think we see
some purpose in them but it simply is not clear. God is able
to use sickness and affliction for His own purposes (cf.
Psalm 119:50, 67, 71). He is able to use pain to remind us
of the future when there will be no more pain (Rev. 21:4).
He is able to use rejection to remind us that we always have
God near to us. He is able to use grief to remind us that
this earth holds no true and unmixed blessings. He is able
to use financial distress and material lack to remind us
that one day there will be riches untold (2 Cor. 8:9; 1 Peter
1:4; Rev. 21:1-7). He may even allow the departure and unfaithfulness
of a dear fellow-saint or a spouse to force us to find in
our faithful God the comfort and consolation that only He
Even when we cannot understand why God allows such sorrow
and deep unfulfillment in life, we can rest in the promise
of Scripture: "We know that God causes all things to
work together for good to those who love God, to those who
are called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28). While
not all things are "good" in themselves, all things
may "work together for good" if we sincerely love
God and are called according to His purpose. And what is
His purpose? Paul says that Gods ultimate purpose is
that we be "conformed to the image of His Son" (v.
29). All of the distress, sorrows, rejections, loneliness,
grief, loss, sickness, and pain in life may be used to bring
us inwardly into conformity to the Lord (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18;
Eph. 4:23-24; Col. 3:10; 1 John 3:1-3).
Seventh, God will help
you to bear the burden of unfulfilled desires.
While others may try to help you in your difficulties and
they may assure you of their prayers, we know that no person
will ever be able to meet all of our needs. The Lord alone
can fill those needs. At the end of his life, Paul was called
to stand before his persecutors but all departed. Paul wrote, "At
my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me.
. . . But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me" (2
Tim. 4:16-17). Even if God does not grant your petitions
for alleviation and fulfillment, He will be with you to help
you. Jesus said, "Come to Me, all who are weary and
heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon
you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls" (Matt. 11:28-29).
Yes, Jesus will give rest and peace to our troubled souls
when we find that this world has nothing to offer.
When God is with us and yet allows us to remain with unfulfillments
in life, we will be able to deal with whatever life brings.
Paul discovered this in his own life. He wrote:
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed,
but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck
down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the
body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also
may be manifested in our body (2 Cor. 4:8-10).
Paul endured the disappointments in his life by relying
on the Lord to sustain him. He realized that the "life
of Christ" would be manifested in his body as he responded
to these difficulties in a righteous and trustful way.
Finally, we must expect
some unfulfilled desires in this present earthly life.
While we are dwelling here in the flesh, imperfection is
found all around us. This world system has been corrupted
by sin. The earth and all of Gods creation that originally
was "very good" (Gen. 1:31) is now under the curse
(Gen. 3), and thus reveals a lack of perfection. Paul says
that "the whole creation groans and suffers the pains
of childbirth together until now" (Rom. 8:22). In other
words, because we dwell in the midst of sin and because sin
has marred everything that we see and experience in this
earthly life, we will always find imperfection and
even misery in this life. There will be immorality, birth
defects, disease, bodily frailty, old age, bad weather, natural
calamities, interpersonal conflicts, rejections, betrayals,
wars, and hundreds of other factors that bring disappointment,
heart-rending grief, mental and physical pain, and loneliness
into life. Life will bring, to some degree or another, many
different negative influences that make us cry for fulfillment,
yet we often remain in unfulfillment.
Therefore, we cannot expect to find total satisfaction
in earthly things in the present state. Inner desires and
longings will sometimes remain unfulfilled. Someone has remarked
that some of these longings may suggest that a fulfillment
only lies in the eternal state. In other words, an imperfection
here can make us aware of a complete perfection in the life
God plans to give us a beautiful futurefree
from the limitations and disappointments of this life. God
said to Israel: "I know the plans that I have for you
. . . plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you
a future and a hope" (Jer. 29:11). Just as He brought
Israel back to Palestine from the Babylonian captivity after
a wearisome, unfulfilled seventy years, so God has plans
for usto give us the measureless blessings of the new
heavens and the new earth in which many of our deepest spiritual
longings may find ultimate fulfillment.
We read in Proverbs: "Do not let your heart envy sinners,
but live in the fear of the LORD always. Surely there is
a future, and your hope will not be cut off" (Proverbs
23:17-18). Why should we envy the pleasures, prosperity,
and popularity of those who do not know Christ? They will
live for a few years and then perish. Their eternal future
will be tragic beyond comprehension. But we, as children
of God, have a wondrous and beautiful future! Our hope will
not be cut off; our hope will find its fulfillment!
One day we will inherit "an eternal weight of glory" if
we are willing to endure affliction now for the cause of
Christ (2 Cor. 4:17-18). Paul wrote, "I consider that
the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Rom.
8:18). In that eternal realm, mourning, crying, pain, and
death itself will pass awayfor all the "first
things" will be no more (Rev. 21:4). We will receive
from Gods gracious hand deep spiritual satisfaction
(v. 6), intimate fellowship with God (v. 7) and with Christ
(7:17), association with all of the saints and angels (5:8-14;
7:14-17; 14:12-13), in a perfect environment (2 Pet. 3:10-13;
Rev. 2:7; 21:1-22:5), and inherit all things that God has
prepared and promised to us (21:7).
Yes, a glorious future will be ours!
While here, our desires may not be fulfilled. The blind person
may never see the light of day. The quadriplegic may never
walk in this life. The laborer may continue to have difficulty
making ends meet. We may continue to face loneliness, pain,
sorrows, rejection, and deep earthly unfulfillment. But a
bright and glorious day will come when the disabled will
walk (Rev. 3:4), when the blind will see (22:4), when the
lonely will find fellowship (7:13-17), and when we will inherit
all the blessings of God (22:14; 1 Peter 1:4).
Therefore, some of our desires may never come to fruition.
For example, after death, the salvation of our loved ones
will be impossible (Heb. 9:27). In the eternal state marriage
will be no more (Matt. 22:30). In the life to come, childbearing
will be impossible. But we may be assured that what God has
planned for us will be manifold more blessed
than anything we could desire here.
God will enable you to live today with unfulfilled desires.
He will give you the spiritual victory you need. All of His
glory will soon be ours. Thanks be to God through Christ
Jesus our Lord!