The cruise ship menu blurred in front of me as I imagined vanilla ice cream melting over a warm slice of apple pie. Oh, how I wanted that delectable dessert! Remember, you shouldn’t eat rich foods before singing, my conscience dutifully reminded me.

Yes, it’s true—I’m now embarrassed to admit it, but I was a finalist in the karaoke competition that evening. (Hey, you have to entertain yourself somehow in the middle of the ocean!) Sure, the competition was for fun, but I would still be in front of a few hundred people, and I didn’t want my voice to be affected by my meal. I’d carefully eaten only a light dinner, and my stomach was quite content—at least it had been until I read the dessert menu. Then my self-control went out the window. All I could think about was apple pie!

When the waiter returned to take our orders, my stomach seemed to sigh as each family member requested a mouthwatering dessert. Turning to me, the waiter asked, “And for you, miss?”

“Nothing, thank you.”

“Nothing from our delicious dessert menu? Are you sure?”

“Well, I would love dessert, but I have to sing in the competition tonight, so I shouldn’t eat any.”

“”I understand,” he said with a wink. “I wish you the best.”

“Thank you,” I replied as he turned to attend another table. But what I wanted to say was, “Come back! I want the apple pie!”

I retreated to my stateroom to spare myself the agony of watching my family eat their desserts while my stomach grumbled. A few hours later, I sat in the green room with the other finalists. The emcee walked us through the order of the program and, thankfully, dessert was the last thing on my mind.

After the contest, I returned to my room with my sister. Opening the door, we found a tray sitting on our little table. A note read, “Hope the competition went well. From the dinner crew.” I lifted the cover off of the tray and— lo and behold—a slice of apple pie!

This experience came rushing back when I read the verse: “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalms 84:11). The wait staff knew that I loved dessert (I confess, I had ordered dessert every night for the past four nights), and while it wasn’t an appropriate food before singing, it was perfect to feast on afterwards!

There are young people praying for spouses, couples praying for babies, parents praying for prodigals, people praying for jobs… Sometimes we really want something, but it’s not the right timing. In those moments, we must remember that God doesn’t keep anything good from His children. If he does withhold something, it’s because it wouldn’t be beneficial for us at that time. In faith, we must believe that He hears our prayers and that, in His perfect timing, He will fulfill His promise to give all good things—when it will  bless us most. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalms 27:14)

The key is, what we think is desirable is often different from what He knows is better. God may sometimes make us wait for good things, but then we find it later—when we least expect it—waiting in our stateroom.

Felicia Alvarez lives in Southern California and loves avocados, sunshine, and serving her Savior. Currently, she teaches dance to over one hundred students and is working on her second book. Connect with Felicia on her blog or Facebook—she would love to hear from you.

Publication date: April 18, 2013