Not that the troubles should come as any surprise to you. You’ve always known that we’re in for this kind of thing. It’s part of our calling. 1 Thessalonians 3:3 (TM)
My wife and I spent a long weekend at the lake together. The lake is a refuge for us. It’s a place where we can rest our weary souls and have long conversations. The conversations usually meander here and there like a trail through the dense forest. We talk about our marriage. We talk about the girls. We talk about movies, politics, art and other favorite subjects. There is no agenda. Nevertheless, crucial conversations always seem to emerge.
Over brunch on Saturday, the conversation turned to face the reality that one of our greatest desires has, as of yet, gone unfulfilled. Wendy brought up the fact that God does not promise us happiness, nor do we have the right to our desires. Before God, she surmised, we have no rights at all. For anyone who has long desired that God fulfill a certain hope, this is a difficult truth to accept. Most of us are used to lives in which almost any reasonable desire, whim or fancy is easily fulfilled. The idea that we have no rights to our desires cuts against the grain of the culture in which we were raised.
This morning’s verse from 1 Thessalonians brought that crucial conversation back to mind. God "never promised us a rose garden," as the old song goes. Difficulty and various troubles are part of the calling when you follow Jesus on the narrow road. God’s ultimate purpose is not to give us all that our selfish, self-centered hearts desire, but to transform us into the selfless, Christ-centered individuals He desires us to be.