when you didn't get what you wanted


I woke up this morning with one thought heavy on my mind: what if you didn’t get what you wanted?  

Of course there are things we wish we’d gotten that we didn’t...a new car with a big red bow like in the commercials, or meeting the man of our dreams while cutting down our Christmas tree like in the Hallmark movies.


But what if we didn't get the things that really matter to us?


Here we are, 6 days after Christmas, where we celebrated the birth of our Savior. The one who brought us hope, who still brings us hope today. Christmas fills us with hope. 


With Christmas comes the end of a calendar year. So many times I have prayed for things to happen “in time for Christmas”. And many times they have.


But what if they didn’t?


What if he didn’t propose?


What if the crib in the nursery is still empty?


What if you didn’t get that promotion you were expecting?


What if your relationship with your family is still broken?


What if he still isn’t well?


Maybe you are no closer to your goals than you were a year ago today. When the Christmas lights come down, and the garland and glitter get packed away and we enter into the blustery gray winter of January, it’s easy to feel like our hope and joy are put away, too. 


Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. -Proverbs 13:12


It was just a few days after Christmas three years ago that I walked into church feeling this way. And our good friend David McNeely shared a message that resonated with me. I loved it so much that I purchased a copy of the message from the book store and even inspired me to paint about it. 




I don’t remember everything that he said, but I remember that I felt understood. And heard. And I knew God hadn’t forgotten me. And that I could hold on to hope and trust in Him.  


It’s scary to have hope. It’s easier to worry and to expect the worst. Expecting the worst doesn't leave us far to fall; helps us soften the blow. But hope sets us up for the possibility of disappointment. 


I love Charles Stanley’s wisdom on hope:


“But this is the challenge of waiting on God. It’s the ability to keep hoping when the nevers of life bombard us—when the minutes, hours, days and years tick away without any answers to our most passionate pleas at the throne of grace. It’s the faith to hang on to the Father on the long road, when human reason tells us to give up.”


Human reason has often told me to give up in order to save face. It’s embarrassing to hope for something when it seems unreasonable (and unlikely) to everyone around us. Hope requires waiting. If there wasn’t a season of waiting, we wouldn’t really need hope, would we? God knows that about us. That’s why there are so many verses like this:


“Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”-Psalm 27:1


Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.-Proverbs 3:5


“Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”—Isaiah 64:4


“None of those who wait for you will be ashamed.” —Psalm 25:2-3


“Those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame.”—Isaiah 49:23


If you are in a season of waiting, your story isn’t over. He tells us to have hope. HIs plans may not look like we imagined. In my experience, His plans look nothing like mine…but are way better than anything I could have asked for or imagined. Our desires may not be met in the way we planned. But He knows what we need better than we do. And He is good.


So may we each walk into the new year full of hope, saying ‘no’ to fear and disappointment—being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not {yet} see.