The Desires He Delights to Give 2.0

Does God give us what we desire, or does He decide what we desire?  Some of my earliest prayers I remember (I was probably about 6) are ones asking to wake up the next day with my room full of all the toys I wanted.  Naturally, I never woke up to a room full of toys.  God probably knew I would only ask for more, and if I kept up that attitude toward prayer, there would never be enough.  That doesn’t mean I only prayed that prayer once…I learn slowly, but He is patient.

This sort of prayer isn’t limited to minor things like toys, nor do I think it is unusual.  While his mother was suffering from cancer, a nine-year-old C.S. Lewis prayed earnestly for her to be healed.  When she wasn’t, and cancer took her from him, his faith was shaken for years.

In my case, in later life, after understanding Christianity somewhat better, one of the first Bible verses I set out to memorize was Psalm 37:4, which says:

Delight yourself in the LORD,
       and he will give you the desires of your heart.

But I still wondered: are the desires what He gives us, or is the fulfillment of desires what He gives us?  I now believe it is both.  In the times I genuinely seek Him, I find that He molds my desires, so they become more aligned with His character.  I also find that He directs those desires toward what will fulfill them.  While that fulfillment is not always immediate, I learn to trust from what He does fulfill that all will be made right in eternity, and I also learn patience and peace.

When we truly delight in Him, we end up finding out that what we desire is righteousness; we also find out that He provides all the righteousness we desire and need.  We find those desires fulfilling rather than frustrating, we find that fulfillment durable rather than fleeting, and therefore find ourselves content rather than anxious.

However, we don’t always delight in Him, or seek to desire what He desires, and we find ourselves conflicted and unfulfilled.  Reflecting on his prayers for his mother’s healing, C.S. Lewis later wrote what he had wrong:

“I had approached God, or my idea of God, without love, without awe, even without fear. He was, in my mental picture of this miracle, to appear neither as Savior nor as Judge, but merely as a magician; and when He had done what was required of Him I supposed He would simply – well, go away.”[1]

Elsewhere Lewis wrote: “God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.”  By experiencing disappointment and death in this world, perhaps He is teaching us that death and disappointment are all that this world has to offer.  Sometimes this is the only way to get us to let go of the world and embrace eternity with Him, even while we sojourn here. Sometimes He lets us down easy when the toys do not appear; sometimes He lets us experience significant pain.  All in His wisdom.

Therefore, since He is both Savior and Judge, as well as all-wise:

“Commit your way to the LORD;
         trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
         and your justice as the noonday.” – Psalm 37:5-6

Keep Driving Toward Morning, dear fellow travelers, and today, pray we will find our delight in Him.

[Version 1.0 of this was posted 4/19/22]

[1] Lewis, C.S.  Surprised by Joy (1955).  P. 21

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