Elisabeth Elliott in her devotional A Lamp unto My Feet says that our unfulfilled longings can be material for sacrifice. This has provided much food for thought for me today.
“I had been praying for something I wanted very badly. It seemed a good thing to have, a thing that would make life even more pleasant than it is, and would not in any way hinder my work. God did not give it to me. Why? I do not know all of His reasons, of course. The God who orchestrates the universe has a good many things to consider that have not occurred to me, and it is well that I leave them to Him. But one thing I do understand: He offers me holiness at the price of relinquishing my own will.
“Do you honestly want to know Me?” He asks. I answer yes. “Then do what I say,” He replies. “Do it when you understand it; do it when you don’t understand it. Take what I give you; be willing not to have what I do not give you. The very relinquishment of this thing that you so urgently desire is a true demonstration of the sincerity of your lifelong prayer: ‘Thy will be done.’”
So instead of hammering on heaven’s door for something which it is now quite clear God does not want me to have, I make my desire an offering. The longed-for thing is material for sacrifice. Here, Lord, it’s yours. He will, I believe, accept the offering. He will transform it into something redemptive. He may perhaps give it back as He did Isaac to Abraham, but He will know that I fully intend to obey Him.”