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Only One Thing

By Joy West

If you were granted only one wish or desire, what would it be? Health, riches, fame, relationships, power, happiness? Would your answer come from a place of sickness, lack, loneliness, fear, or discouragement?

For most of the first twenty years of my marriage, one of my deepest desires was to have children and grow our family. During that time, God led me on a path of barrenness and painful soul-searching. I longingly watched as my friends experienced the joys of pregnancy, birth, and baby’s firsts, and I rejoiced with them. However, I walked a very lonely and sometimes jealous road with feelings of being left out and even forsaken by God. Childlessness was pretty much a forbidden subject. I would ask God: what great sin had I committed that would disqualify me from becoming a mother? His answer: He is Sovereign and His timing is perfect. My mind captured that, but I continued to struggle emotionally.

Just before my twentieth wedding anniversary, God, in His mercy — and not because of my goodness — gave us a beautiful baby girl through adoption. What a blessing, indeed! Through a series of nearly impossible events that could only be orchestrated by God Himself, He gave me the desire of my heart.

While my desire for children was a noble one, it was, in part, a selfish one.

In Psalm 27, we read of a not-yet-king David, who was innocently running for his life and hiding in caves. Experiencing fear and uncertainty, he confidently makes declarations of assurance. He also makes a very noble request:

The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I see most —is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in His Temple.” (Psalm 27:4, NTL)

While he may have been envisioning his plans for a future Temple — a physical place, I believe he was referring to the presence of God. At that time God’s presence was considered confined to the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting.

Then in the New Testament, we read in Luke 10:38-42 about Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. While Martha was hurriedly busy doing things, Mary discovered the one thing:

There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42, NLT)

What was that one thing? It was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to what He taught (Luke 10:39).

Allow me ask you again:

If you were granted only one wish or desire, what would it be?

Now, years later and in a different season of my life, I desire to live in the presence of God 24/7 — day and night. It’s from there that flows joy, hope, assurance, peace, rest, wisdom, understanding, and so much more.

Unlike any wasted wishes as depicted in books or films based on Aladdin’s lamp, God doesn’t lock us out of future opportunities to repent. He is generous with His forgiveness and grace, allowing a reset. If you have wished for selfish or temporary desires, it’s not too late to seek God for the one thing.

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