It is important for us to test our motives whenever it comes to God’s promises, just as it is to wait for Him to answer our prayers and fulfill our hearts’ desires. The Father loves to bless us. But if that longing replaces Him in any way, satiates the needs only He can satisfy, or becomes an idol in our lives, He will not compete with it. And if we refuse to wait for Him to provide, then we will undoubtedly miss His very best.
There was a time when the Father taught me this very clearly. Several years ago, I was in a terrible accident that wrecked my automobile—someone crashed into me from behind and knocked me 35 feet down the road. As I was riding to the hospital in the ambulance, God spoke to me very clearly: “Do not buy another car.” I thought this was very odd. I was not hurt too badly, but the only thing I was really focused on was getting my injuries treated in the emergency room. I wasn’t interested in even thinking about another vehicle. But His command was so strong that I could not ignore it. “Do not buy another car.” Immediately, I realized that He wanted to teach me an important principle, so I obeyed Him.
I waited more than a year. My children kept asking me, “Dad, when are you going to get a car?” And I kept telling them that I was waiting for God to show me what to do.
During that time, someone was very kind to me and lent me a vehicle. I was exceedingly grateful for it, even though the college students gave me a terrible time about its condition and made fun of me whenever they saw it. You see, this loaner was one of those old, beat-up, gas-guzzling Cadillacs with fins that you rarely see anymore. But it was enormous—long and clunky, with checkered seats and its own zip code. I was so embarrassed about being seen in it that I would hold my hand up to my face at the stoplight so people wouldn’t recognize me. Whenever I would see those college kids, they would say, “Doctor Stanley, you really need a new car!” Still, I thanked God for the transportation.
As I said, I lived this way for more than a year. Finally, the wait and the ridicule got to be too much for me. I gave in to my desire to buy a new vehicle and went down to a local dealership. There was a car there that was all right. It was modest, not pretentious by any means. I test-drove it three times, never feeling quite right about it. In fact, I can remember sitting in the lot of that dealership, staring at the dashboard with my hands on the steering wheel, and thinking, “God, I know You said, ‘Don’t buy a car,’ but I am so embarrassed about driving that old Cadillac. I need to have something respectable to get around in. I guess this is what I ought to do. I should just buy this one.”
Again, the Lord spoke to me in a manner I will never forget: “Do you want this or do you want My best?”
I sighed. There was no question in my mind about that. So I replied, “Father, I want Your best. I’m going to trust You,” and I got out of the car.
The salesman was standing there. He smiled hopefully and asked, “Well, are you going to take it?”
“No,” I responded.
He was very surprised. “Well, why not?”
I just shook my head and said, “Sir, you wouldn’t understand.” And I left.
It was a week or two later that I rode with a church member to an important meeting. I didn’t know him all that well, but he offered to pick me up and take me. So I went, glad to have the opportunity to spend some time with him.
Along the way he asked, “So Charles, when are you going to get yourself a car?”
I thought to myself, Oh, goodness. Not this again. But I managed to reply, “Well, I don’t know. God just hasn’t given me permission to buy one yet for some reason.”
“What would you choose if you could get anything you wanted?” he inquired.
The words were out of my mouth before I could even think about it, “One just like this,” I said. This man had a very fine vehicle, one far superior than I had ever considered purchasing for myself. So I have no idea why I responded that way. But apparently God did.
Three days later, I received a check to buy an automobile just like his—a car far better than I had hoped for or could have imagined. And it was absolutely free.
I was certainly grateful that when I was tempted to purchase that inferior vehicle after more than a year of waiting that I listened to God and didn’t do it. It would have been a terrible mistake. But because I obeyed the Lord, I received a wonderful blessing. I didn’t ask for or expect it, but my loving heavenly Father provided it for me anyway.
Friend, God never fails to show us His grace, goodness, love, and mercy when we wait for Him. This is why I beseech you—delight yourself in the Lord, make Him the priority of your life, wait for Him, cling to His promises, and trust Him to give you the desires of your heart. He knows your needs and longings even better than you do, and He wants to fulfill them in a manner that reveals the awesome way He loves and provides for you.
This article has been adapted from Charles F. Stanley's Waiting on God.