Always Never Wanted

“May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!” (Psalm 20:4)

A few years ago my nephew Jacob could not wait to open one of his gifts. It was Christmas Eve and be begged his dad relentlessly. Finally, his dad acquiesced. Jacob dove under the Christmas tree, grabbed the most interesting package he could find with his name on it, tore off the paper, looked at my brother and said, “This . . . is . . . exactly what I always never wanted!”

When I heard the story I remember thinking, “That boy’s on to something!” Often that’s exactly how our minds work. “God, what you’ve given me is exactly what I always never wanted!”

But right there, where we are, where we never want to be, God says to us, “I am enough. I am sufficient. I will carry you through.” In the midst of those challenging places where we don’t ever want to be, he gifts us with his grace to endure, to not fall apart, to wait for him to untangle the mess of trouble for some great good that we might never understand.

My definition of grace is God supplying everything we need to make it through the challenging seasons, moments, and events of our lives. This compelling truth is intertwined all through the verses of Psalm 20 as if it is a blueprint on the subject.

“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion! May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!” (Psalm 20:1-5)

That first line declares, “May the Lord answer you.” He’s the God who answers “in the day,” right when it’s taking place. He doesn’t wait a couple weeks to get back to us like a preoccupied physician. This passage is a neon sign pointing to the fact that all through Scripture men and women have faced trouble and have sought God for answers. You and I are not the first ones to tackle difficulties. 

Clearly, Jehoshaphat and David and Ruth and Hannah and Abigail and Mary Magdalene all faced incredible challenges. None of them dodged the inevitable.

Like a loving Father intent on comforting his troubled children, in Psalm 20 God reveals his promises as personal and not just generic comfort for the masses. The God who helped Jacob and all those ancient pilgrims makes it clear that he answers you, protects you, sends you help, gives you support, remembers what you have offered, grants your heart’s desire, fulfills your plans and your petitions. Our tender Father gives us this intimate message of grace for all the times troubles wrestle us to the floor.

When we are exactly where we never wanted to be, Jesus is exactly there with us. His presence is the greatest evidence of his all-sufficient, over-the-top, always-more-than-enough grace. For today. And for all the tomorrows yet to come.

Elizabeth A Mitchell

Photo Credit: Mudassir Ali on Pexels

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