Have you ever wanted something so bad you could taste it? Have you ever planned and planned and just knew in your heart the something you wished for was going to come true or eventually happen one day? Something good and right and treasured? I remember thinking something along those lines as a child. I knew very early on that I wanted to be a nurse. By middle school, my plans and desire had not changed at all except that even more than being a nurse, I wanted to be a nurse practitioner. There were several experiences in my life that had led me to that decision and I knew God had given me the desire and the ability. I studied hard, got good grades and was given many opportunities including attending a licensed nurse diploma program while still in high school. My desires were strong and the ability was there but something happened toward the end of my senior year that changed the trajectory of my path; an engagement to my (now) husband.
That engagement turned into marriage and the education and career I had dreamed of all my life became second priority. Because I had graduated high school as a licensed nurse I was blessed to find a great paying job very quickly and though the desire remained to further my education, the time and money to do so dwindled quickly. It’s something that I look back on and have frequently wondered, “What if?” I don’t regret the last 15 years of married life and raising three crazy kiddos and I know it’s certainly not too late to continue on but things have changed.
I was reminded of my experience when I read King David’s story towards the end of his life. Since childhood, David loved the Lord with all of his heart and one of his greatest desires was to not only see the Ark of the Covenant return to Jerusalem but for him to build a majestic home for it.
2 Then King David rose to his feet and said: “Hear me, my brothers and my people. I had it in my heart to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord and for the footstool of our God, and I made preparations for building. 3 But God said to me, ‘You may not build a house for my name, for you are a man of war and have shed blood.’ 1 Chronicles 28: 2-3
Oh, what a disappointment that must have been for David. He dedicated his life to the Lord, courageously and faithfully leading the nation of Israel off to war when necessary but always pointing them back to the Yahweh. Although David does not get the chance to be the one to build the final resting place of the Ark, the Lord’s plans prevail and it’s his son that will carry on with the passion and love of his father. David’s charge and advice to his son, Solomon is beautiful and what an encouragement to all of us. Even in the midst of disappointment that his dream had ended, David could rejoice in trusting God’s ways are greater than his.
9 “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever. 10 Be careful now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be strong and do it.”
20 Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished. 1 Chronicles 28:9-10, 20
As I look back at my own situation I can see how blessed I truly am by God’s sovereign hand of protection on my life. At the time, passing up opportunities to become “something greater” seemed foolish but it’s only by looking back that I can see God working. Had I gone further with my education, I may very easily have chosen my career instead of my family. If I had more degrees, I may have missed the opportunity to open my own business and would lack the freedom I have today because of it. The truth is, only the Lord knows but I will remember this lesson moving forward. What seems like unanswered prayers are really God’s blessings and mercies in disguise. I will keep working with strength and courage as the Lord calls me for he will not leave me until the work is complete!