Understanding the Goal


Why does it appear so difficult to determine what God wants? Dr. Stanley explains why adversity and times of waiting motivate us to seek Him. More than anything, the Father wants an intimate, loving relationship with you.

Have you ever wondered, If the Father wants us to know His will, and His plans for us are good, why doesn’t He just make it all plain? Why all the mystery? Why the tension and pressure? Why does it appear so difficult to determine what He wants?

Very simply, the reason is that He desires for you to seek Him, and He realizes that adversity and times of waiting motivate you to do so. Yes, He wants to reveal His path for your life to you—that is very important to Him. Yes, having you walk in the center of His will is His goal. But more than anything, the Father wants an intimate, loving relationship with you. So He will delay answering your inquiries about His plans in order to keep your eyes and heart focused on Him.

Recall what He said in Jer. 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart” (emphasis added). His purpose is for you to know Him. And when your main objective is to relate to Him personally, intimately, with love and obedience, everything else will fall into place (Isa. 30:20–21).

If you’ve ever had friends or loved ones who came to you only when they wanted something, perhaps you’ll understand His reasons. They were probably nice enough when you would see them, but the only time they asked about how you were feeling or expressed any interest in you was when they required your assistance. They sought you out of convenience, not out of love.

So many of us do the same to God. We only look to Him when we need something, so our relationship with Him is one-sided and stunted in its growth. But the Father does not want to function merely as an impersonal Source of information and provision or a distant Commander shouting instructions. He wants to be involved in our lives in the most profound way, through a relationship that is based on faith and trust.

Perhaps you recall a time when you had to make an important decision and you sought the Lord’s direction with all your heart. During that time, not only did you receive His guidance, but you also experienced His goodness, profound presence, and a deep, abiding awareness of who He is and how much He loves you.

I pray you are beginning to see the awesome pattern that arises. God wants you to seek Him, so He allows a need or yearning to surface in your life. You perceive that necessity and pursue His guidance. He delays in His answer so your search for Him will intensify and you will depend on Him more fully. Eventually, He becomes more important to you than the original need—which signifies an important change in the focus of your heart. Finally, He satisfies your longing in a way more wonderful than you could have imagined (Eph. 3:20)—and perhaps far different from how you expected—and by doing so, He reveals Himself to you powerfully. He does all of this to deepen your relationship with Him and develop your capacity to know Him.

This article has been adapted from Waiting on God, a new book by Charles F. Stanley.

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