We all desire to have the best in life; from our careers to our love life, we don’t want to settle for just good enough or satisfactory. We want the best. In our own hopeful aspirations and, at times, arrogance, we often think we know exactly what is God’s best for our lives, but do we really? How can we know when something is actually God’s very best?
Years ago, I found myself greatly enamored by a fellow member of a small group I was part of, and he seemed to check nearly every box I had on my desires list for a future spouse. He was full of wild humor, considerate of others, and appeared to have a deep devotion to the Lord; I was very much attracted to him. From my limited understanding, he would appear to be God’s best, so I assumed that he might be someone I should seek to get to know. Despite this, something felt unsettled, and it felt imperative that I take it to the Lord for further refinement. Through that experience, I learned what it really means to become aware that God’s best is not always something we can presently see.
Jeremiah 33:3 offers the truth that God is a Father Who desires to give us clarity and a firm footing of faith in His final Word, “‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” We are but humans with limited understanding, knowledge, and insight into what is really happening behind the scenes or what will come later. When we stop trying to dictate how something ought to go and hand over the pen to God willingly, we find that His plans are always best, even if they don’t necessarily seem as such in the moment.
After spending a few months getting to know the man, I decided to stop moving in my own fleshly understanding and to invite God to have the loudest voice in my life for this issue. Before this, it felt easy to discern if I should consider dating someone because either God had made it clear or within I had a firm understanding, but with Henry, it was an entirely different lesson to be learned. I came before the Lord with a very open and willing heart to allow Him to decide if I would make my feelings known or not. The way God answered me to this day has shifted how I see romantic relationships and any life decision.
I awoke one day to a clear morning sky with the sun peering in through the window and a soft, loving whisper boldly and clearly stating, “he is not My best for you.” A sentence of a few words but of profound understanding and knowledge. Instead of arguing against the answer or moving my ambitions forward with Henry, I, with a grateful heart, began the process within my own heart to let go of the idea of being with him. I began to untangle the knots of feelings, emotions, and daydreams of my own motives and let God lead me.
As time would tell, Henry proved later to be not just a bullet I dodged but perhaps an atomic bomb avoided. His true character came to light through a situation, and I am amazed and grateful that the Lord had directed me as He did. God knew what was best for me even if all the circumstances around and the exterior looked like Henry was a great choice in a mate. Isaiah 55:8-9 shares, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” What this verse is really getting at is that God sees and knows so far beyond what we could even possibly fathom or imagine. He sees the surface and the profoundly intimate internals of everyone and everything, so we can trust Him when He directs us in a specific path.
We can know something is God’s best for us when we stop assuming and trying to drive the car of our lives and instead ask God what He wants us to know. This requires humility, the dying of self, and the thought that somehow, we know better than God Himself. Luke 9:23 reminds us, “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” It is a daily practice to die to the idea that we somehow know what is best for us because we really do not. Thankfully we have a Father Who does know what is best for us and when we follow Him and His leading, we find ourselves in a place where we can receive God’s best.
One of the ways we can discern from God what His best is comes through prayer and revelation given by the Holy Spirit. John 14 reminds us that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and we can stand firmly on that which He says. We must also be diligent in taking what we hear and believe to be of God and testing it against God’s Word. Does it align with Scripture, and do you have a peace that can only come from God from such a Word? These are questions we must ask along the way. Finally, we must step aside from what we want the answer to be to hear clearly what His answer truly is. This looks like laying your own hopeful answer at His feet to truly and fully receive the answer He has for you, even if that answer is “no” or “wait.”
Not a day goes by that I do not thank God within my heart that He gave me the answer that Henry was not His best for me. I am still awaiting God’s best to come forward, but I am grateful I did not waste more time or find myself in a hard situation to navigate out of by pursuing my own efforts with Henry. God knew and saw what I did not, and I was blessed enough to see that evident and true on the other side. One of the greatest reminders we have, when we find ourselves still awaiting God’s best, is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, but in every way look to God and He will make your path straight.” God knows what His best is for you, and you are worthy of His best. So do not settle for what is good enough right now in the present when just around the corner, He could have something far greater than you could possibly ever ask for or imagine.