Reflecting on this past year it seems as though many seasons are soon coming to an end and new chapters are about to be written. To name a few- baby girl will be here in about 8 weeks or so! And in just over 2 weeks I will complete my masters degree. Summer has always been a time of pause and restart for me- mostly because of my long standing "student status". Transitions are always an interesting time in life that it seems God really takes advantage of to teach us to rely more heavily on him.
I can't say that this season of change hasn't presented some great challenges- but in the midst of struggle I heard a message preached that really shaped my thinking. Billy Huddleston (website) recently spoke at my church about the Psalm 37 highlighting verse 4. There is SO MUCH in this psalm that is just remarkable and life giving (read it here), but his message on verse 4 really spoke to where I was sitting that night.
Psalm 37:4Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
I have heard and quoted this verse for years. My theological understanding was that God knows the desires of our hearts and either fulfills them or removes them. Of course scripture does not say that- but logically it made sense. So that is what I believed. But really what is being said is far from that.
To summarize a more lengthy message that he preached, here is what he said: the two key words here are delight and desire. To understand the passage, we have to understand these two words.
Billy used the ipad dictionary app as a simple definition resource. Here is how it defines delight and desire.
1. A high degree of pleasure or enjoyment
2. To take great pleasure
3. To gain satisfaction from
1. An expressed wish
2. A longing or craving
3. That which satisfies
Replacing these two words with their definition is really eye opening, but the pairing that really challenged my original understanding of the passage was the last two definitions:
Gain satisfaction from the LORD and he will give you that which satisfies.
In addition Billy said that to make "desire" plural is a poor translation. He suggests that in the original Hebrew text "desire" is not plural, but singular and could more specifically be translated as that which you want most.
So in my journey I realized that what I have desired most are things that do not satisfy and yet I have expected God to give me those desires because I have sought him and have followed him. But the message here is not "follow me and I'll grant your wishes", rather it is (to paraphrase) "Find your joy in me and I will be enough for you"