Desire is a funny thing. I don’t mean the passionate, lustful kind of desire. And not the desire you have for a person. But the desires you have for yourself, for your life, or for those you love. Those desires.
Perhaps the most confusing Bible verse I’ve ever meditated on is Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” It comes across straightforward enough, but beyond the surface, it has been perplexing to me.
It seems there are two schools of biblical thought on desire. The first is that your desires are okay, because God placed them in your heart, and will therefore bring them to pass. The second is that when you spend time delighting in God (not people or things), your desires conform to His desires and that is what He gives you.
I’ve always been a die-hard supporter for the latter. To me, it has seemed that it requires me to move beyond the desires I have to the desires God has. After all, “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Prov 4:23). I never trusted my own heart enough to believe the original desires I have are worthy, so I have continued to dismiss them, pressing on to just delighting in the Lord Himself.
So far, 2009 has been an amazing year for me. I’ve spent the majority of it delighting myself in the Lord. Devouring His Word. Seeking Him. Praying diligently. Worshiping wholeheartedly. Not for what He can do, but for Who He Is. It has been an amazing time of refreshment and focus for me.
But a funny thing happened along the way. I started receiving the desires of my heart.
At the beginning of this year, God clearly told me to begin believing Him, and to posture myself to begin to receive. As I followed His leading, He has poured out blessing after blessing after blessing. And every single time the blessing came, God whispered to my soul, “It is my joy to give you the desires of your heart.” And every single time I heard it, I dismissed it believing that it was my own deceitful heart and not God saying it.
There has come a point, however, where there have been too many blessings and too many whispers, that it can’t be my heart deceiving me. Because it’s the same voice. And it’s gentle, and loving, and intimate. It’s the whisper of someone who delights in giving. It’s the sound of someone who pleasures in seeing joy in His child’s face. It’s not the voice of a deceitful and sinful heart. It’s the sound of God.
And suddenly, I’m faced with a decision in my school of thought toward desire. Is desire something I secretly want that God puts there and intends to fulfill? Or is it is something that changes and morphs into what God wants after I delight in Him? The truth is, the answer is simply YES. It’s both of those things. I’ve just been too narrow-minded and unbelieving to think it could be both. My “either/or” mentality has kept God in a concise, little formulaic box. And He’s broken free.
The real fear I have about my deceitful heart is that I don’t want it to ever be convinced that all I have to do is try to delight in God and then I’ll get what I want. I know in my head there isn’t a formula. And that God can just plain decide to do what He wants to do when He wants to do it. But I’m also aware that God specifically says in His Word that there are seasons of blessing. There are times of receiving, of joy, of desires being granted. And as much as the Bible talks about focusing and worshiping on the Lord, it also has as much to say about the generous, giving, loving nature of God…how it pleases Him to give good gifts to His children.
I have been blessed to be on the receiving end of this amazing lesson with God. He has decided to let me walk out this particular lesson in living, breathing technicolor. Making it clear all the way that it’s His doing alone, not mine.