38 years ago yesterday, I saw my oldest niece for the first time. Born two days earlier, she surprised me with her delicate features. I stared lovingly at her toenails, wondering how such a big God managed to create something so tiny. Most of all, I praised the Lord for giving me one of the desires of my heart.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart. ~~Psalm 34:4 (ESV)
In the years that followed, He gave me many other desires of my heart (including a second niece 25 years ago), culminating with my marriage to John on August 24, 2002. I thank Him for blessing me so abundantly during my earthly life, especially when He reminds me that I deserve nothing but eternity in hell. Sometimes I fear that, because God has blessed me so much now, I won’t enjoy many rewards in heaven.
But the Lord, in His grace, has shown me that Psalm 37:4 has nothing to do with temporal desires. As much as I thank Him for the many wonderful ways He has expressed His love and faithfulness to me, He has convinced me that I’d focused on the wrong desires and consequently misapplied this Scriptural promise. Look at Psalm 37:4 in context:
Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace. ~~Psalm 37:1-11 (ESV)
The psalm addresses people who, rightly distressed by the world’s prevailing evil, yearn for the day when the Lord’s righteousness eradicates sin. As believers delight in the Lord, our desires will become less about personal blessings and all about wanting to see the Lord glorified and wickedness vanquished. It expands on the first petition in the Lord’s prayer—“Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
God has blessed me in more ways than I realize, and I praise Him for my nieces and my husband. Even so, I now desire His return, when all creation, finally liberated from the clutch of sin, will praise and glorify Jesus!