Drawing Near to God

Jane Olson

READ : James 4:1-10

But he gives more grace. (v. 6)

Like many Christian singles, my friend Megan would like to be married but can't seem to meet the right person. “I get asked out by non-Christians,” she says, “and say ‘no' because I know that's not what God wants for me. But why is the Christian life so unrewarding sometimes?”

Megan's situation raises a painful question: What happens when God seems to stand in the way of what we hope for or desire?

When God denies us what we want it may be because we want the wrong things—things that could harm us. James says, “You ask and you do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (v. 3). Sometimes we treat God like a genie whose job it is to grant our every desire. But our desires are often shortsighted or selfish; by denying them, God shows us great love and mercy.

Sometimes God denies us what we want in order to break us of our idolatry. When we desire something—a spouse, children, a career—more than we desire God, we are in profound spiritual danger. “Do you suppose it is to no purpose that the scripture says, ‘He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us'?” (v. 5). God will not play second fiddle to the idols of our hearts.

Though God may not always give us what we want, “he gives more grace” (v. 6). And his grace is sufficient.


Lord, draw me near to you, for with you I can bear any disappointment.