by Gwen Leong
It was an honor to speak at this year’s conference and I’m glad to have the opportunity to revisit some elements of my talk that I wish I had a bit more time to share. Like explaining how God taught me the true meaning of Psalm 37:4, the theme verse of my talk: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
I took much issue with this verse. Is God honestly promising us the world? It feels like God is a rich Dad, handing me His credit card saying, “Go ahead, buy yourself anything you want!” “God,” I used to say, “you’re going to give people the wrong idea. We’re going to run amuck and desire a whole bunch of horrible things – like I dunno, fancy cars and billion dollar houses – and then we’re going to run astray and begin worshipping these idols of wealth and status instead of you!” Yet, in those words, His promise stands.
Years later, I thought more about the first part of the verse and decided, well, if I’m following the first step, if I’ve grown in my faith where God’s very essence makes me happy, then my heart is probably going to change. It’ll change into a generic “Super Christian” heart that desires godly things God would appropriately want to give me anyway. Probably peace on earth, scholarship to Bible school, a chance to be a full time missionary to Africa. Yuck.
It’s like a parent who wants to get you a nice, warm sweater for Christmas when you’re the kid who’s dying for this cool Lego set and has been harping on it all year. By the time Christmas comes along, I dunno, the kid becomes a momma’s boy and is truly grateful for whatever present he receives. Isn’t he happy to have forsaken those devil toys? You know what, he really is hankering for something practical like a wool sweater.
In other words, it’s a loophole. God’s promise sounds really good, but if you read the fine print, God’s just promising to give you what He’s always wanted to give you. It probably sucks as bad as a wool sweater, but by that time, you’ll be too hyped up on Super Christian vibes to even know it sucks. What used to sound too good to be true, now looks like a let down. Needless to say, I didn’t like my second interpretation either.
More years passed, and my perception of God changed from harsh Taskmaster to Friend and Healer, Who spoke straight to my heart and desired to heal the brokenness there. I found out He really loved me and, yeah, I actually did enjoy spending time with Him. Do you know how amazing it feels when you spend time with someone who loves you that much and knows you that well? It is beyond words. As I delighted in God, I saw God’s desires were actually dwelling within my desires. God would look at my desires and say:
- Hey you love connecting with people? That’s great. I want to connect with people too. Be my connector.
- Hey, don’t you have a niche hobby and crave to meet other fans? I want you to meet these people. Share my love with them. They’re on the margins. They’re lonely. They want to be understood, and the church does not understand them. But you do.
Now I have a completely new interpretation of Psalm 37:4. God does give you the desires of your heart. When you were born, He planted those desires within you to begin with, so He can be even more glorified when He awakens them and you’ll have fun doing something together. Because good fathers love spending time with their children.
So actually, God’s the parent Who invites you home for Christmas. If you show up, stay for an excellent meal, and open gifts, you’ll find He’s got you an entire Lego collection 10 times bigger and cooler than what you asked. You absolutely love it and He loves that you love it. He loves how you want to share your Legos with poor kids who don’t have any.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and you’ll find He is ridiculously generous, He loves giving you gifts even better than what you had imagined, and, trust me, you’re going to love it because He knows what you like, and you’ll want to turn back and glorify Him.