Why does God promise to give us what we want? And then he doesn’t…

Categories:Spiritual Growth

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.  Luxury German cars and holidays in Great Britain. Daily massages and living like kings. These are a few of my favorite things.

High maintenance much? Agreed, my appetites tend to run towards the indulgent and costly. I know, I know…the shiny of these things offers only fleeting enjoyment. But I can get into a thick dose of temporary comfort on occasion.

Admittedly, I like nice things. I also like less frivolous things like peace. Fulfillment, laughter, adventure, and friendship.  Real conversations with my girls, silliness with my husband, and opportunities to share Jesus.

So what does a greedy “wanter” like me do with Bible verses like Psalm 37:4 [single eyebrow raised in intrigue]?

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

He straight-up promises to give us what we want.  But really…how does that work?  Because I keep an ever-growing Note on my phone. Are we talking an Amazon Wish List here? This is genuinely a question I’ve grappled with as a believer. We love Jesus; we go to church almost every Sunday. We spend time reading our Bibles and praying each day. We’re doing everything we know to do to grow in our relationship with God; so how do we tap into receiving the desires of our hearts? A husband or a wife. A baby. A promotion. An opportunity in ministry. A larger house. That trip to Hawaii…

What does it mean when we’re checking all the boxes for being a good Christian and we aren’t receiving the desires of our hearts?  What do we do with God’s promise then?  Do we – even if in the most remote corner of the cellar of our hearts – decide we can’t believe him?

I was baffled.  Because people don’t just get what they ask for. Why would God promise that when it’s clearly not true?

And then I began to understand a little more about what it means to delight in the Lord.  It’s really not at all about doing the right things. We can’t “do” our way to delight. Obligation strangles delight; they are not friends. Delight is characterized by natural enjoyment. It’s every bit about having a heart for him. About sincerely digging time with him and wanting more of it. And when we do, he will give us what we want OR change what we want so he can give it to us. When my heart is engaged with his, he has access to change my heart to be more like his. So if I am praying for another international speaking opportunity (I spoke at a women’s conference in Germany in 2013) and that doesn’t line up with what he has in mind, through our time together he will reshape my desires to run consistent with his plans. At which point he can completely grant the desires of my heart.

And then. Through the darkest season of my life, he gave me an even truer insight into this verse.  When I truly – like “I cannot get enough of you” – delight in God, HE BECOMES THE DESIRE OF MY HEART.  I just want more of him. That’s it. I want to see him more and hear him more and know him more and love him more.  And I can ask for more and more and more of him and he can give it.  All day, every day. I can ask and I will receive.

So.  As the queen of wanting more (i.e., chocolate chip cookies, sleep, coffee, shoes…), I find that I can have as much of him as I want. I can be a greedy “wanter” of Jesus, and he’s more than okay with that.

Okay, God, let’s say…hypothetically….I want a black Mercedes SUV (exactly like the one pictured above – cough, cough)… 

Top 10 Ways for Packing on 20 Pounds
The very real danger of buying pajamas too small...


  1. Robin Clayton
    Robin ClaytonReply
    January 23, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Cookie. I love this and we can never get too much of Him. Btw. Courtney and I are planning a mother daughter trip. And I know it has to include a spa day

    • Cookie Cawthon
      January 23, 2015 at 10:53 am

      Yes, girl! Massages, manis, and pedis for the win! We’re kindred spirits, ya know…

  2. Chris
    January 23, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    I feel confident I can bless you with that exact year and model SUV in the next 10 years. – smirk smirk!

  3. LindZHaselden
    January 23, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    I laugh to look back on some of the things that were desires of my heart but I now know they would have been so bad for me. Like a house that was too expensive. A job that I probably would have hated. And a mini-cooper ;). Thankful for the way Jesus changes my heart and what it desires!

  4. Stacia Barreau
    Stacia BarreauReply
    January 23, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks for the phenomenal post! NOW I truly get it! Keep ’em coming, classmate!

    • Cookie Cawthon
      January 23, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks for reading, Stacia! So fun to have you here, and I love seeing you on FB. Methinks you’re out there changing the world; I love it!

  5. Christy moore
    Christy mooreReply
    January 23, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Have you been living in my heart and head!!!! This is dead on to so many of us “wanter’s!” Love that you are back writing. I had to read this one to Michael. I felt he needed to know “I’m not the Lone Ranger in this WANTING world”

    • Cookie Cawthon
      January 24, 2015 at 10:28 am

      You are a hoot, girl! Thank you for reading and sharing the blog with so many others (including reading it to Michael :))!!

  6. Martha Davis
    Martha DavisReply
    January 23, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    I needed this today! I can truly say that I have never wanted for many material things and have only prayed to God to help me take care if my boys when I was a single parent and He did it, without fail. The biggest desire of my heart cannot be bought with money. It is to have a wonderful relationship with Bo, remember him?

    As I read your post, I realized that I have not been nearly greedy enough in my wants that concern Jesus! I whine and moan about my sin and I pray for him. But I am so caught up in that desire, that it over clouds what should be my real desire and that is to live for Jesus and be like Jesus!

    When the desire of your heart involves your child, it’s so hard to let go and let God! But I know that I have to do that, otherwise I’ve made my son an idol and God comes in a distant second.

    Thanks for reminding me, especially today, of this! I left Bo with God over a year ago when he walked out of my life. It almost killed me but I did it and had a peace about it. But he came back into my life in August and I saw it as an answer to my prayers. But his behavior has not changed and I’ve got to put him down at the foot of the cross again and leave him there. No matter how many times Satan tells me I’m the problem, I know it’s not true and I’ve got to stop letting him have a foothold just because I’m afraid my son will never be in my life. God is omnipotent and He will give us the desires of our hearts when we delight in Him. I’m pretty sure He’s not happy about being second place.

    • Cookie Cawthon
      January 24, 2015 at 10:24 am

      Martha, I love your phrase “I realized that I have not been nearly greedy enough” about Jesus! My kiddos aren’t old enough yet to really go their own paths, but I can see how that has to be such a difficult journey to navigate…

  7. Elizabeth Axelberg
    Elizabeth AxelbergReply
    January 23, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    Thank you so much for your enlightening response to a question we all ask ourselves at one point or another! An open heart will always allow us a chance at following God’s divine plan. I’m learning everyday how tough it can be to just let go and let God! Prayers for you! God is good ALL the time.

    • Cookie Cawthon
      January 24, 2015 at 10:19 am

      Thank you for reading, Elizabeth. And I totally agree with you – keeping an open heart is the key to following God, and it isn’t easy. Hope to see you back here again real soon…

  8. Kristi
    March 20, 2015 at 8:06 am

    So good! Change the desires of my heart Lord!

Leave a Reply

Your message*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>