“Why did God make me like horses and then make me allergic to them?”
This was the response I received to my question “What questions do you have about God?” from a sincere 4th-grade girl.
The natural explanation for why you develop horse allergies is that you are around horses. According to Healthline, “the more you’re around horses, the more likely you are to have horse allergies.” So in her mind, why would God make her desire to be with horses, only for them to make her feel awful because she is around them?
This is an important question to her. And before we say, “give her an antihistamine and get over it,” most adults have similar questions.
We long to get married, but the right person never comes along. We hope for a child, though the pregnancy test is always negative. We want restored relationships, but division persists. We expect justice, yet perpetrators of injustice prevail. We desire peace, but chaos continues.
We see the larger question being asked is “why does God give us desires only to prevent us from having our good desires fulfilled?”
Sometimes in Scripture, we see good desires fulfilled. In the case of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:10 (ESV), we are told she was “deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly” begging for a son. God heard her prayer and soon after “Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked for him from the Lord.'” Other times, good desires in Scripture are not fulfilled. David, the inspiration for Psalm 37:4, prayed and fasted on behalf of his sick son, but his son still died. And yet, we see David praising God immediately after his deep desire was denied. We see that we are not promised a life of fulfilled desires, but we are called to be content and praise him amid our unsatisfied longings.
There is often beauty in desiring and longing for something we do not have or have not experienced, even when it is difficult. It moves us forward. We continue to press on for what could be. There is a blessing in the sehnsucht, or as C. S. Lewis describes it, an “inconsolable longing.” We “desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (Hebrews 11:16, ESV). We struggle as we yearn for things to be perfect in an imperfect world. We long for our Father to make everything right. We long for the not yet.
While on earth, we may not have our every desire fulfilled, but we are given a promise:
“God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.“ (Revelation 21:3-4, NLT).
–Hannah Brimner, Technology Specialist at Room For Doubt