As a single young woman, I’ve heard a lot about God’s best for my life. Many Christians, with the best of intentions, tell singles to wait for God’s best to finally come in the shape of a husband or a wife. Marriage, it seems, must be God’s best for me.
It’s true we should not settle for anything less than what will honor God, like a potential spouse who does not believe in Jesus or submit to him. But constantly looking to the future for God’s best prevents us from seeing the good he is doing today.
If we’re not careful, “God’s best” can become nothing more than what we hope for ourselves. These future hopes may be good and honorable desires, but they also may stem from a selfish heart wrestling to place our will above God’s. Aspirations or dreams can breed ingratitude and build idols in our hearts if they become our main focus or the criteria for our joy. If the thing we wanted finally arrives, we’ve trained ourselves to wait for something better. If it never comes, we think we missed out on God’s best.
But God’s best is not just a promise for the future; it’s a reality today for every believer.
Some of the things we think might be God’s best for our lives may not ever happen. It’s not only true with marriage (and the possibility of being called to lifelong singleness). Each of us hopes for something — a growing family, a certain job, a new place to live, an exciting change, or some goal we’ve been working to achieve. But where does that leave us, as we continually hope for the next best thing?
If there seems to be a long list of things we’re waiting to receive, it does not mean God has decided to withhold his blessings. Each one is a gift, but it may not be our gift. The Lord might have other plans for our lives, and those plans will come with their own beautiful and unique blessings. Even though we may not perceive them as better than what we want for ourselves in the moment, they are not less than God’s best.
As we pursue Christ and the path he has placed before us today, he will not leave us wanting. But that doesn’t mean he will automatically grant our every wish. Instead, he will be faithful to continue the process of molding and reshaping the desires of our heart to long for himself (Psalm 37:4). And with these new eyes, we are sure to notice blessings we couldn’t see before.
If He Doesn’t Give, It’s for Our Good
When we face the heartache of rejection, the feeling of missing out, or the realization that our hopes and dreams may go unfilled, it may bring little comfort to label the pain as something “working for our good.” It does require time to process and grieve. But in those moments, we can cling to the promise that God has not forgotten what he has started in us (Philippians 1:6). He does not delight in seeing us feel hopeless. He has plans for us in every disappointment that will accomplish his good purposes (Romans 8:28). And in his providence, the process is often as good or better than any outcome.
God may say “No” to some of your requests. If so, that mysterious mercy is his best for you today. He may carry you through a season of uncertainty about what will come next. If so, the waiting and seeking is God’s best for you today. He may ask you to uproot something in your life and move on to something new and different. If so, this guidance and provision is his best for you today. He may show you a new dream to follow. If so, this inspiration and redirection is God’s best for you today. He may call you to stay exactly where you are for now, however uncomfortable that might be. If so, this assignment is God’s best for you today.
He may one day fill our lives with the good and honorable things we’ve been asking for, but even if he doesn’t, what he has chosen to give us is his best for us, at least for today.
Receiving His Best
The thought of not having the thing we have hoped for can be scary. It doesn’t always feel like his best. Still, Paul set an example for what it means to joyfully receive what God has given us today. He tells us that singleness is a gift, because those who have not been called to marriage are free to focus on serving God’s kingdom without distraction (1 Corinthians 7:32–35).
Whether the calling of singleness is only for a season, or for a lifetime, God did not intend for it to be the runner-up to marriage. He does not give gifts that are second-best. His best may include something different for you tomorrow, but it doesn’t diminish the beauty of today’s gifts.
No matter what you are hoping for, he has not decided to give it to someone else and asked you to settle for something less. You haven’t missed out, and you will not be excluded from all the good and perfect gifts God provides. Each one points us to the ultimate best gift: himself. Our redemption in Christ and the promise of eternity with him. If we are in Christ, nothing can compare to what he has already given and the grace he pours over us daily.
When we embrace this reality, choosing to trust he will give us everything he has ordained, we can receive the fullness of joy as we count all the ways he has given us his best today.