That was my thought as I walked away from a well-meaning acquaintance that was trying to cheer me up. As soon as the sentence started rolling through my head I could feel it lunging towards my heart where it intended to plant bitterness and anger.
Nope. I wasn’t going to let the thought do that. I was going to get to the bottom of it once and for all. I decided to go digging, digging for the truth of this verse and why I was wrestling with it, never winning, usually with my face pressed to the floor and the air being pushed out of my lungs.
Recently I have been struggling with an unfulfilled desire. There has been much weeping and sorrow and work and money and anxiety spent over this desire I have, but still it has remained unfulfilled, lingering just ahead of me, out of reach as a dream that quite possibly may never come true. I am now wrestling with the thought that I may have to bury this desire of my heart and acknowledge that it and I will never meet.
Sometimes I find myself wanting to kick and scream (sometimes I even do, but quietly, alone, when I can hide my frustration). Sometimes I feel the weight of this unfulfilled desire like a burning in my chest, threatening to consume me.
How did I let it get so out of control? Why can’t I seem to find peace? Why haven’t I just let it go?
I think the answer to these questions has revolved around this verse and the truth in it. The real truth. The truth that I have heard frequently misquoted and have myself, misunderstood.
I want you to be able to see your unrealized dreams and wants and desires here, in this blog. Perhaps it is a music career, a husband or wife, fame, money, a child, health, a vacation. Whatever it may be, I imagine that you, like me have had a friend or relative or christian co-worker quote King David in Psalm 37:4 when he said "[The Lord] will give you the desires of your heart." I know that I have heard this spoken to me a number of times as well as spoken to others when we are longing for dreams that remain out of reach. In fact I have heard this verse so frequently, that I find myself standing and blinking, a bit in shock because it seems this verse will not be realized in my case.
Have you found yourself, also, standing at this crossroad of disbelief and disappointment? Have you heard your mind shouting "Hey! You promised!" and begun feeling roots of anger clutching at your already frail heart?
How can these two things be reconciled? How can the bible say He will give us the desire of our hearts but so many peoples dreams stay unfulfilled, and instead leaving us broken hearted and reeling in confusion?
I have spent much time chewing on these thoughts and questions, shaping them into fervent prayers while reminding myself to listen to what the Lord would show me from this, because I don't need a life corrupted by bitterness.
So dig with me…
Matthew Henry gets straight to the heart of this verse and says in his commentary on this Psalm:
“[God] has not promised to gratify all the appetites of the body and the humours of the fancy, but to grant all the desires of the heart, all the cravings of the renewed sanctified soul. What is the desire of the heart of a good man? It is this, to know, and love, and live to God, to please him and to be pleased in him.”
This is why there has been a battle in my heart. This is why I have struggled with letting go. I have mistaken a want for the ultimate, true desire of my heart. I have stood something up like a god, in place of God and I thought He would honor it.
He wants to give me the desire of my heart, and that desire is Him.
He knows me better than I know myself and He knows what the true desire of my heart is. He also knows that I can still have that desire though I have wants that may end in what feels like robbery, loss, failure, disruption, or unfairness.
If I want to receive the desires of my heart, I need to turn myself towards that desire of my heart and let everything else fall away, knowing He is a good God who makes all things right (Romans 8:28 “We are assured and know that all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God…”).
Can you find yourself in these words? Have you struggled with unfulfilled desire? Are you willing to let go of that want so that you can have your fill of your hearts true desire?
I’m letting go.