What are you like when you don't get what you want?
Do you ever wonder what God does when he doesn't get what he wants?
When Jesus walked the vineyards and olive groves of Israel, his disciples requested he teach them how to pray. He took a common prayer and adapted it - one of the revised lines went like this: Your kingdom come, your will be done. Jesus wants his followers to pray for God's kingdom to come to earth. The implication is that it isn't here yet. Well, it's here, but only in part. So what does that mean?
The short version: to talk about God's kingdom is to talk about God getting what he wants. Jesus taught that the kingdom of God was within each of us. This is another way of saying that God gets what he wants with us, in us, and through us. Does God always get what he wants out of us? Ha! We know the answer to that one. Now multiply that over six billion times.
In another teaching moment, Jesus made this point: seek first God's kingdom and righteousness - and everything else in life will take care of it self. God's kingdom is another way of saying that God gets what he wants, and righteousness is another way to talk about God's work to make everything all right. When God works to get what he wants, he works to make everything all right. Sounds appealing, right? Makes you wonder why more people in the world aren't more open to God's work in their life. But then you and I often resist God's work to make everything all right in our own life. Oh, wait, you don't have any problems, you're all fixed up, aren't you! Ha.
The apostle Paul found himself in some tense moments with others because of his work of proclaiming the kingdom of God and His righteousness. In one particular scenario, he is recounting his life - especially those parts when he was opposing the work of Jesus' followers. But something changed in his life, and now he's promoting the work of God in Jesus' followers. Out of all the lessons we could pull out of this, it's worth focusing on this:
Everything is preparation.
Everything in your life is preparation for what God wants to accomplish in the world.
God is working in the world to make everything all right - that's what he wants. And everything you've ever said, done, thought, dreamed about is preparation for God's future work in the world through you to make everything all right.
Of course plenty of your life seems like a waste, a big mess, a life uninterested in God. Fortunately, with God, everything in your life is redeemable. He can bring good out of everything in your life. In his work to make the world all right, he must first do this work in you before he does it in the world through you.
Everything is moving forward to God's kingdom come in full. Someday God will finish his work in the world of making everything all right. Life is not one endless cycle, it is heading forward. Sometimes you have to believe it to see it. You have to believe that God is always at work to make things all right before you can see it. You have to believe that everything in your life is redeemable before you can see it. You have to believe that God can help you move forward, no matter your past. Even if you fall forward, he can help you get up and stumble forward.
God doesn't always get what he wants in the world. He doesn't always get what he wants with you. But in his work to make you all right, and in his work to make the world all right, his work is always moving forward. Everything in your life is preparation, it is redeemable.
When God doesn't get what he wants, he stays loyal, he perseveres, his patience endures. He wants to make you all right, and he won't give up on you. When you're ready, he's ready.