Take delight in the Lord,Psalm 37:4
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
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As I write this, we are just past one of the best snowstorms we’ve had in decades. It wasn’t just one snowstorm—it was half a dozen, spread out over two weeks, with mid-teen temperatures that kept every snowflake intact in between snowstorms. So by the time it was over, we had about two feet accumulated on the ground. It was glorious.
In my experience, there are two types of Washingtonians: the “Oh, I hope it never stops” camp, and the “Oh, when will this horror end?” camp. I share co-president duties of the first group with my sister and favorite civilian meteorologist, Megan. Our texts back and forth every winter include these sorts of comments:
Do you think it will ever snow? … I can’t stand it. I need snow … Channel 4 said there’s a slight chance … I changed my mind. Stop watching channels 4, 5 and 7. Q13 has a more optimistic forecast … Doesn’t it smell like snow to you? … Do you have any yet? … Walter Kelly says “the Big Kahuna is coming … Be still my heart—It’s snowing!
I think what I love best about inclement weather is what it forces you to do: gather together, light candles, light a fire, make stew, wear your slippers, drink cocoa, and curl up with a blanket. I’ve lived her almost my entire life, and I delight in all our rainy days and stormy skies.
Unfortunately, a whole lot of Washingtonians do not love our weather. As a realtor, I meet many people moving here who are trepidatious of what they’ve heard, and who frequently ask me, “Is the weather as horrible as I’ve heard?” And what I tell them every time is, “Embrace cozy. Choose to love it.” Because it is a choice. You can choose to delight in it, or you can choose to complain about it. It’s all in the mindset you’ve chosen.
Our verse in Proverbs today lays a similar choice before us: we can choose to delight in God, or we can choose not to. It’s a mindset and it’s an act of our will. The verse itself is an imperative, meaning that it is, according to the dictionary, an essential or urgent thing; of vital importance; crucial; all-important; absolutely necessary . And seeing that the theme of Psalm 27 is wisdom, I would add “wise” to that list.
What happens when we choose to delight in the Lord? Our interests change. Over time, we are less enamored by this world and the things it values, and more interested in God and His kingdom. It’s just like with my grandchildren. I haven taken utter delight in them, which means I love spending time with them, I love to listen to them recount funny stories, I love to cook with them, and play Mexican Train with them, and sit and read with them. In short, anything “them” is interesting to me. Which is why, a few years ago, I found myself price-comparing tickets to LegoLand. You could never have told me prior to Gage and Maddy that I would ever, ever have even the remotest interest in LegoLand. But I delight in them … and they love Legos … ergo, I now love Legos.
This is really the explanation for the second part of that verse … “and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The promise is not that God will give us everything we are coveting at this moment. Rather, it is a promise that if we draw close to Him and value what He values, He will plant good desires in our hearts. Every “yes” we say to God moves us one step closer to Him. And with every step, we discover more of His glory and understand more of His nature. One day, all those minute-by-minute wise acts of our will are going to walk us right into His arms. And we will finally know with certainty that there was nothing on earth that could ever compete with His beauty.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses