Why does God promise to give us what we want? And then he doesn’t…
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Luxury German cars and holidays in Great Britain. Daily massages and living like kings. These are a few of my favorite things.
High maintenance much? Agreed, my appetites tend to run towards the indulgent and costly. I know, I know…the shiny of these things offers only fleeting enjoyment. But I can get into a thick dose of temporary comfort on occasion.
Admittedly, I like nice things. I also like less frivolous things like peace. Fulfillment, laughter, adventure, and friendship. Real conversations with my girls, silliness with my husband, and opportunities to share Jesus.
So what does a greedy “wanter” like me do with Bible verses like Psalm 37:4 [single eyebrow raised in intrigue]?
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
He straight-up promises to give us what we want. But really…how does that work? Because I keep an ever-growing Note on my phone. Are we talking an Amazon Wish List here? This is genuinely a question I’ve grappled with as a believer. We love Jesus; we go to church almost every Sunday. We spend time reading our Bibles and praying each day. We’re doing everything we know to do to grow in our relationship with God; so how do we tap into receiving the desires of our hearts? A husband or a wife. A baby. A promotion. An opportunity in ministry. A larger house. That trip to Hawaii…
What does it mean when we’re checking all the boxes for being a good Christian and we aren’t receiving the desires of our hearts? What do we do with God’s promise then? Do we – even if in the most remote corner of the cellar of our hearts – decide we can’t believe him?
I was baffled. Because people don’t just get what they ask for. Why would God promise that when it’s clearly not true?
And then I began to understand a little more about what it means to delight in the Lord. It’s really not at all about doing the right things. We can’t “do” our way to delight. Obligation strangles delight; they are not friends. Delight is characterized by natural enjoyment. It’s every bit about having a heart for him. About sincerely digging time with him and wanting more of it. And when we do, he will give us what we want OR change what we want so he can give it to us. When my heart is engaged with his, he has access to change my heart to be more like his. So if I am praying for another international speaking opportunity (I spoke at a women’s conference in Germany in 2013) and that doesn’t line up with what he has in mind, through our time together he will reshape my desires to run consistent with his plans. At which point he can completely grant the desires of my heart.
And then. Through the darkest season of my life, he gave me an even truer insight into this verse. When I truly – like “I cannot get enough of you” – delight in God, HE BECOMES THE DESIRE OF MY HEART. I just want more of him. That’s it. I want to see him more and hear him more and know him more and love him more. And I can ask for more and more and more of him and he can give it. All day, every day. I can ask and I will receive.
So. As the queen of wanting more (i.e., chocolate chip cookies, sleep, coffee, shoes…), I find that I can have as much of him as I want. I can be a greedy “wanter” of Jesus, and he’s more than okay with that.
Okay, God, let’s say…hypothetically….I want a black Mercedes SUV (exactly like the one pictured above – cough, cough)…