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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

The Disaster of Wrong Desires

"[They] did not wait for His counsel. In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. So He gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them." - Psalm 106:13-15 NIV

Years ago, the Lord taught my family and me a valuable lesson about the danger of having strong desires, when we had to make a decision about our pet situation. The wild mallards that we had hatched and raised with tender loving care had flown away to start a new life on their own. The joy that Sam and Lazarus had brought us was so abundant that their departure left a profound void in our daily routine. At first we were so saddened by our loss that getting another pet seemed unthinkable. But after my family and I talked and prayed about it, we began planning to acquire some new ducks.

As we started making phone calls and combing the internet looking for newborn ducklings, we discovered just how unlikely it would be for us to find them so late in the summer. It seemed that every time a new avenue opened up, we would eventually encounter a dead end. My husband and I both began to suspect that it was not God's will for us to have the new pets we dreamed of. We entrusted the matter to the Lord, asking Him to help us to do His will. From then on, we became more cautious in our efforts, waiting upon God for direction. Shortly afterwards, we got a call from a local farmer who had heard that we were in the market for pet ducklings. He invited us to drive out to his farm that evening to see if there were any in his flock that we would be interested in. As we headed home with our three new baby ducks that day, we praised and thanked God for His goodness and love.

When I was seeking God about getting new pets, He showed me the verses above from Psalm 106. They tell of the Israelites' disobedience while they wandered in the desert after their escape from Egypt. When they demanded better food from the Lord, "He gave them what they asked for, but He sent a plague along with it." (Psalm 106:15 NLT) Verses 13 and 14 tell us why: "They did not wait for His counsel. In the desert they gave in to their craving…they put God to the test." (NIV) Instead of waiting upon God to give them direction, and to act in their best interests, the Israelites insisted on having their own way, testing God's patience and causing Him to send punishment along with the fulfillment of their demands.

I had already been earnestly seeking God for His will in our pet situation, but after reading these verses, I put my desires on the altar and offered them up to Him. I told the Lord that as much as I longed to have new ducks, I wanted no part of a plan that wasn't His best for us. I reaffirmed my trust in Him, as well as my belief that He always has our best interests at heart. I believe that by doing this, I was giving God the opportunity to close doors on my behalf, as well as open them. From then on, I continued to follow any leads I felt the Lord might be offering, but I maintained a "ready mind" so that I'd be prepared to graciously accept His saying "no" to my desire for new pets.

If you don't trust God and truly believe that He wants what is best for you, this strategy won't work for you, and you will wind up "kicking down doors" to get what you want. And you will deeply regret it in the end. But if you truly believe the Lord when He promises to give you the desires of your heart if you will delight yourself in Him (Psalm 37:4), you will surrender your desires to God, and trust Him to do what is best for you. My prayer for you today is that you will put aside your wrong desires and choose God's will every time. When you do, you will discover firsthand that those who put their hope in the Lord will never be disappointed! (Isaiah 49:23 NIV)

Prayer: I am sharing these things with you today because I want you to know that God cares for you so much that He is eager to relate to you on your own level, no matter where you might be spiritually. The Lord wants you to continually experience spiritual growth, but He doesn't wait until you're mature in your faith to speak to you. And He will speak to you about anything and everything that concerns you, if you will seek Him. The psalmist wrote: "I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!" (Psalm 116:1-2 NLT) God is so merciful and good - and He loves you so much - that He is willing to "bend down" and listen to your concerns, and answer in ways you can understand.

- J. M. Farro


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