Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some kind of encouragement, I hope

What does it mean when we are told that "God will give us the desires of our heart" for such a long time, I figured this to be stock Christian rhetoric told to someone who's constantly worrying/wondering about their life.

A blow-off.

I'm ashamed to admit that I JUST realized that it's a verse, it's a Psalm.

Psalm 37:4 in fact.

Now that it's a documented truth, I'm faced with the difficult part of acceptance. Questions swirl and plague me:

"Does God want to give me what I want?"
"How do I get these things?"

and for me, the worst,

"What are the desires of my heart?"

I truly don't know what they are. The tough part throughout my entire life has been discerning what God wants, and what I want. A battle as old as the world. I'm imagining Adam or Eve, their cheeks red with shame.

The struggle I've had lately is dealing with the concept and reality of sin nature. If I am a born sinner, given the predetermined oxen-load of "free will," how then will God, in whom there is no darkness (1 John 1 somewhere I think) give me the desires of my naturally born evil heart?

It's a long sentence, hopefully it's coherent.

Is God going to give me the desires of my evil heart? These questions are revealing small crumbs of truth to me as I type. It is because of this same free will that God gives us these desires.

I believe that in many cases, God does give us the desires of our evil heart.


Think about it though, If I want to steal badly enough, has God not given me the bendable conscience to take something that isn't mine?
If I want to cheat on a girlfriend or a wife, has God not given me every resource necessary to make this happen?

and so there's the "Rub" Hamlet talks about.

The desires of an evil heart lead to depression. Lead to anger. Lead to distrust and infatuating doubt. The desires of an evil heart leave us empty. I believe that God's free will is demonstrated in this feeling. While I still believe that in God there is no darkness, no evil and no ill-will, his love is demonstrated purely in our choice.

We have a choice. God loves us so much that He gave us a choice.

Now, for the "blow-off" that helps.

I can't really recall the number of times I've recited the verse to myself, or how many times someone has given me the first part, as thought it was the bandage that was sure to stop my bleeding.

I believe Philippians 4:6 is a tremendous verse, useful for soothing scrapes and covering cuts, but it is when Philippians 4:6-7 are read together that the healing of big, bleeding wounds takes place.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

If verse 6 is a blow off, verse 7 is the pay off.

While the promise is not as clear cut as "giving us the desires of our hearts," it is ambiguously amazing. I believe that when we are looking for our sexual desires, when we want to steal, when we want so desperately to buy the faster car, the bigger TV, the bigger house or the better jeans, what we are truly looking for is contentment.

I believe that what we are looking for is so much bigger than the car, and bigger than the TV. At least in my case, obtaining these things are treating the symptom and not the disease. We were created for peace, we were created to be content.

God wants to give us the desires of our hearts, and He also promises peace.

In the media-fueled turbulence of this country, in the thing driven mentality of our culture,

Peace approaches us like cool air in dusty lungs. I want peace to be the desire of my heart.

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