Longings. Sometimes the intensity of them brings tears and great anxiety. We long for their fulfillment, but most of all, we long for rest.
A hunger for relationship or the restoration of a broken one. A desire to see physical healing. A deep yearning to be parents or, as parents, to get past or at least hold on and thrive in the “grunge” moments; or at our deepest longing, to see our children “walking in the truth.” Or it could be for a situation to be more comfortable, a new job, a different home, a move. Sometimes our longings are for things temporal and sometimes for things eternal; each bring their own angst until we lay them down before our God Who sees. He is not unaware of them; He knows us better than we know ourselves so we can honestly pour them out before the One who so loves us and takes vast joy in fulfilling our desires according to His good will for His glory and our greatest good!
Psalm 37:4 reminds us, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” So often I have heard and myself been tempted to shape that as a “gimme” promise – that if I will delight in the Lord, follow Him well, “do” for Him, and give Him great praise then He will meet my every need according to MY wishes! Oh, even writing that makes my heart cringe because, in that line of thinking, I am demanding that God do what I ask and fulfill every desire of my heart regardless of His will or the consequences. I am implying, in a sense, that my wisdom exceeds His. As I look back on my life, how thankful I am that He withheld many of the then “desires of my heart” for a greater outcome I had not yet known! His protection and His greater good for and deeper knowledge of me than I have of myself has time and again proven to be my true satisfaction!
Often we miss the nugget of truth within that verse. For, if we truly delight ourselves in the Lord, we and our desires will be changed. If we are growing in our knowledge and love for the Lord Jesus Christ, we will have His grace and peace and our greatest joy will be His desires for us.
No doubt there are times we humble ourselves before the Lord, we lay our requests before Him, and He says, “Yes, I will answer just as you ask; I will give you that desire exactly as you requested right now!” At times, His answer may be almost identical to our longing; at other times, He fulfills it in a different way than we imagined and answers with a “Yes, but better!” or a “Wait, my child.” And still other times, as we grow in our enjoyment of Him, He changes us and causes our wants to match His. Indeed, there we find that our delight and our desires are one with His and we stand amazed at how He has given us His heart and brought us to rest in that!
And, yet there are situations that require a submitted heart in the midst of circumstances that will never make sense this side of heaven. We will have questions that are not answered and issues that may remain burdensome. It is at those times that we cry out for the Lord to give us a trusting heart in spite of what we see, feel, and experience.
Sometimes we will relax and never again strive for that which we once held so dear, but then there are other times we will have to lay it on the altar again and again, even daily, as a sacrifice of praise and allow Him to bring that peace that comes from delighting in His desires and timing for us.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2