Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Surrendering Unfulfilled Longings

Leslie Basham: What dreams and goals did you have when you were growing up?

Voice: As a kid growing up, I wanted to be a pilot. But as I grew up, I learned to drive and I learned that I had no navigational abilities so piloting a plane was out of the question.

Leslie Basham: When things don't go according to our plans, it can actually be a really good thing.

Voice: Really, it's for everyone's benefit that I am not flying a plane. I even get lost in the malls.

Leslie Basham: It's Tuesday, July 6; and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

When we think back on some of the funny goals we had as kids, it's pretty easy to realize that we shouldn't always get what we want.

But sometimes when our goals aren't met, it can really hurt. Here's Nancy to give us some perspective on what to do when life isn't following our plans.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: A listener wrote to us here at Revive Our Hearts after she heard me teach through Proverbs 31 where we talked about how the virtuous woman can smile at the future.

She wrote: "I'm having trouble doing that, not because I don't believe that God is in control and that He is good. But I'm going to be forty next month and I've always thought He would give me a husband and children.

I fear what God has for me in the future because of the difference between how He and I see good so far. What can I do to regain trust?

It hurts so much to have so many dreams die when I've trusted Him from the beginning as a teenager. Turning forty as a virgin is not what I had hoped for."

We're talking today about the subject of singleness--finding contentment and joy in God's plan for our lives in whatever season of life--whether married or single.

Our guest this week is Amy Baker. Amy has a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from Purdue University. She's a biblical counselor. She's ministered counseling women and children for many years.

Amy, thank you so much for talking with us this week about what the Word has to say about singleness and also something about your personal pilgrimage in this area.

Amy Baker: Thank you, Nancy, I'm glad to be here.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And for those of you who weren't with us the last time we talked, she has been married for about a year and a half. You're in your mid-forties. You were single for the first forty something years of your life. God really did a work of grace in your life during those years.

Amy Baker: I'm so thankful that God had plans that were beyond what I

imagined. His ways are so much higher than our ways and so much better than our ways. I don't have a moment's regret for anything that God did in my life that was not the way I thought I wanted at the time.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know, someone has said that God's will is exactly what I would choose if I knew what God knows.

Amy Baker: Yes, we're so limited by our finiteness. The listener's question that you started with so aptly describes not just the struggle of singles but the struggle of humans in general.

We look at things and we don't see what God is up to. And we begin to wonder: What are you up to, Lord? Throughout the Psalms we hear the Psalmist saying: "Lord, what are you doing? I don't get it."

Let's remind ourselves to wait a minute and acknowledge: I'm know you're up to something good. Psalm 84:11 says that: "The Lord God is a sun and a shield. No good thing will He withhold from those that walk uprightly."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now as you were going through your twenties, thirties and then approaching forty and still no sign of marriage in sight did you ever struggle or strive and ask: "Lord, what about this good thing that You said You wouldn't withhold from me?"

Amy Baker: You know, at that point I don't know that singleness was the kind of struggle it could have been. I'm thankful it wasn't. Our purpose is to bring glory and honor to God.

As I began to get involved in ministering to others and looking for ways that I ought to be growing (God has given so many ministry opportunities in our lives that it doesn't really leave a lot of room for sitting around and focusing on what I might want), I found real joy and satisfaction in getting to minister.

You know, I'm married now but that doesn't mean that now it's about me or what I can get. It's still about ministering. It's still about putting the needs of others first. It's still about striving to please God and love others.

God tells us what we're supposed to be doing. That hasn't changed simply because I've gotten married. I may have a little bit of a different focus in whom I am striving to minister to now. But the fact is that I'm still doing the same thing just in a different setting.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And it's interesting, Amy, you and I have both counseled with a lot of women either single or married and we've seen how singles can be self-focused, living in self-pity, wallowing in the frustration or the challenge of being single.

We realize that once they get married, though they may have thought that's what would solve their issues and make them happy, if they go into marriage as a self-focused person, they're really not going to be any happier.

Amy Baker: Exactly. I had a pastor who used to give an illustration of folks who were struggling with something and might move to a new location to have a fresh start.

He pointed out that the same person that gets into the car gets out of it. It's not a change in circumstances that's going to bring satisfaction. It's a change of heart, learning to trust and depend on our God.

Where our thinking doesn't line up with His thinking, guess who needs to change? It's not that God needs to change. It's that we now have an opportunity to align ourselves with Him and show our faith and trust in Him by learning to think His thoughts and learning to think His ways.

In the e-mail you mentioned awhile ago, she mentioned her dreams. That's so true for all of us. Dreams that are not fulfilled give us the opportunity to demonstrate whether our relationship with God is one that is shallow or if there's depth in it. If I see God as just a big cosmic Santa Claus.....

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Fulfilling all my dreams.

Amy Baker: Exactly. When my dreams are not fulfilled, there's not going to be joy; there's not going to be contentment. Life is going to be very dissatisfying.

But I need to learn to see God as Habakkuk 3 [:17] writes: "Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stall."

What he is describing is that there is nothing good or tangible here that I can see. My life looks very, very bleak. But how does he end it? He says: "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will be joyful in God my Savior" [Habakkuk 3:18].

Now you know that he couldn't have made that decision based on His circumstances. At that point, I think it shows depth in relationship with God.

There's nothing that he can see that God is doing that is good from a human standpoint, but yet he says: "I will rejoice in the Lord."

He's making a choice that he's not going to base his evaluation of this on what he can see or experience. He's going to base it on truth. So he says: "I will be joyful in God my Savior."

I think we get opportunities like that when we have dreams and our dreams

aren't fulfilled. Then we have a wonderful opportunity to say: "Lord, I want there to be depth in my relationship with You.

I don't just want it to be a shallow relationship where I praise You because You have given me everything that I think I wanted. So I'm going give thanks to You and I'm going to praise You because You gave me everything that I wanted. This becomes very easy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We're really loving His gifts more than Him and as long as I have those gifts, as long as God keeps stocking us up, then we'll love Him and praise Him.

But what happens once He withholds or He takes it away. Does our love for Him dry up? Well, it says something about the nature of our love for Him, doesn't it?

Amy Baker: Isn't it good that God gives us opportunity to really examine ourselves and see what the case is in our hearts because He does pour out gifts on us.

He's such a good God and blesses us richly. We must determine to love Him for who He is and not for what I can get or my love is indeed a shallow one.

Isn't it good of Him to give us opportunities where we can really examine that and say: "Okay, now I can see that I do love Him" or you know what, "my love was shallow and now I've got an opportunity for there to be some depth, for me to grow in that."

If we simply got what we wanted all the time, we wouldn't know the answer to that question. God would, of course, but we wouldn't.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And there's such sanctifying power in unfulfilled longing. It gives us something to offer up to God as a sacrifice. I've been reading recently how God summoned or called for a famine in the land. Deuteronomy 8:3 says: "God caused them to hunger."

There are times in a sense when God deprives us of physical or material or tangible or relational or visual benefits. Why?

So He can make our hearts hungry for Him. If you and I could have here on earth everything we wanted, everything we thought would satisfy us, we wouldn't long for anything more.

We wouldn't long for heaven; we wouldn't long to be filled with that which only God can supply. So there's something about those unfulfilled longings that can press us to His heart and bring us to a place of greater dependence, reliance on Him, confidence in Him.

Someone has said, "You'll never know that Christ is all you need till He is all that you have." When He is all that you have, you will find that He really is all that you need.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss isn't done. She'll be right back with some important thoughts. Nancy has been talking with Dr. Amy Baker about the fact that things don't always go according to our plans.

Maybe you know someone who could use the perspective we've heard about today. You can get them a copy of this week's conversation on CD or cassette.

The CD is available for a suggested donation of $8. To order just call us at 1-800-569-5959 or go to our Web site ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also e-mail your friend a free transcript of today's program. Every day we make the transcript available at ReviveOurHearts.com.

A lot of women find it helpful to read our past transcripts. A woman recently wrote and said: "My married life and my life as a Mom is being changed because of your teaching.

"I'm hungry for the kind of life of an obedient, godly, humble, busy woman you expound. Please do not erase your past radio scripts from your Internet site. I'm using your material from early 2003 all the way to early 2004."

Again, you can find the transcript at ReviveOurHearts.com and while you're there you can e-mail just like this woman did.

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Tomorrow we're talking about how being alone sometimes is a good thing.

Now here's Nancy with some closing thoughts.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What is your unfulfilled longing? Your "if only I had this, I think I would be happy. I think I would be content."

Can I just ask you to take that unfulfilled longing and lift it up to the Lord and say, "Thank You for giving me a longing that has not been fulfilled and for creating in my life circumstances that cause me to realize how much I need You, circumstances that will press me to Your heart, circumstances that will cause me to hunger and thirst after You."

I want to challenge you not only to thank God for that unfulfilled longing but to embrace it and to say: "Lord, if and when and where and how You choose to fulfill that longing it is up to You. But until You do or if You never do, I just want to say: 'God, You are enough.'

Lord may it be true that our rejoicing and our fullness is all in You and we give You our thanks for that. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Leslie Basham:

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