Psalm 37:4 (NIV)
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
This passage has always been a somewhat bittersweet one for me. The reason for that is possibly because most often I have heard it as an “encouraging” response from fellow believers after my genuine and vulnerable expression of an aching need in my soul for something. I express, “I am desperate for purpose, I crave connection, or I long for others to see truth,” and the best I am offered is a platitude of “Well, just delight yourself in the Lord…” The platitude itself isn’t so bad but it is accompanied with this understood meaning, “IF you just love God more THEN He will give you what you need… maybe… one day… when He feels like it.”
Instantly, what is meant to encourage, wounds.
See, here’s the thing, “loving God” has become synonymous with “being more obedient” or “doing more things for Him.” Hooked to that is this twisted Theology that somehow God only shows favor or gives generously to those who love Him well. We end up attaching strings to what we claim is God’s unconditional love. We say to people IF you do _________ THEN God will ___________. What we don’t realize is that when we make God’s faithfulness dependent on our action, it is us who become the gods. And rather unhappy ones at that.
See what I mean? Totally twisted! As if the hands that carved the universe could be tied by the brittle whims of my human behavior. As if the arms that stretched wide to bleed out my sin could be bound by tattered ties of my testimony. How could the frayed edges of my efforts even begin to incite the love of a God who is far bigger than them?
My therapist said something in passing this week in our session and the statement has been stuck with me all week. He said, “Let us not be tempted to trust in the promise rather than in Him who promises.” A simple statement really, but with such depth of truth. How easy it is to become focused on needs, my cravings, my desires, and claim with fervor “God promised if I ask it will be given to me!” This focus blurs the bigger picture we’ve kept hidden in our peripherals.
The bigger picture, the better picture, is that not only does God promise to give us the desires of our heart but actually HE is the desire of our heart and we already have Him, all of Him, in fullness, no holding back.
I say, “I’m desperate for purpose.” He answers, “Let’s create together.”
I say, “I crave connection.” He answers, “I’m tangled up in the very essence of your being.”
I say, “I long for others to see truth.” He answers, “I’ve never stopped pursuing them.”
We have hunger pangs and He is the bread of life. We long for justice and He reigns resolutely. We beg for tenderness, care, comfort and He wraps us in His embrace. We are need and He is source. That’s how it was always designed to be.
Psalm 37:4- Jess Standard Version (JSV):
“Rest peacefully in the Lord, and you will find He satisfies the desires of your heart.”
Whatever stretch of your journey you find yourself on today, whatever yearnings wrench in your soul today, may you take comfort in knowing that you are in relationship with the God who satisfies. Rest in the truth that His favor is not dependent on your behavior nor are His blessings contingent on your obedience. Live with fierce and unshakable boldness to approach the throne of the Father and have your thirsts quenched. And may we not be tempted to trust in the promise rather than in Him who promises.