“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4 NIV). That’s one of my favorite verses ever! But for me, I realize that my heart’s desire has definitely changed over the years – because I finally started to really understand what the verse was talking about.
From what I can remember, this verse originally became meaningful to me when our remaining son Jeffrey was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. My husband Gary and I were devastated. Yet I started memorizing this verse, thinking if I kept loving God and doing what was right, perhaps the doctor would realize he had made a misdiagnosis (Continuing Forward). The desire of my heart at that time was that Jeffrey was just delayed in his growth, and would not be labeled with a disability.
A couple years later, a dear friend sent me a birthday card, and in the card was a bookmark with that same verse – and she didn’t even know how important it was to me! But at the time I received the card, my heart’s desire had changed. Jeffrey’s diagnosis appeared to have been correct; so now my desire was that God would miraculously heal him. I just needed to keep trusting and loving God, doing what was right in His sight.
Over the years this same verse has popped up in front of me many times since receiving that bookmark. But something happened one day, which as I look back now appears to have been the catalyst to really understanding this verse.
I don’t remember exactly where we were – or even how the conversation came about – but one day I decided to ask my husband Gary what his heart’s desire was. I fully expected him to answer something like “have Jeffrey healed.” But after spending a few moments thinking about it, he said something to the effect,
“To have my relationship with God become the most important thing in my life.”
I remember sitting there at that time, thinking, “HUH?” His answer had totally caught me by surprise.
But his words have stuck with me over the years since then, and through his response, so began my brain-shift – so to speak.
The key is in the first 5 words: “Delight yourself in the LORD…”
As I’ve studied just what this phrase means in this context, I realize I had been very misinformed over the years. This phrase doesn’t mean just trusting and loving God; instead it means to put Him first – to have Him be first place in your life. He is to be the #1 Most Important Person. My love for Him should supersede everything else.
But we’re human beings, fully flawed in our day-to-day thinking for the most part. And God knows that. Yet His desire is that we would realize just how intense His love is for us. He desires to give us wonderful gifts – more than we can imagine (Matthew 7:11). He gave us physical life, and through faith in His Son Jesus He has given us free the gift of eternal life (Ephesians 2:8-9). We just need to accept that gift from Him!
In closing, does that mean that I no longer desire to have Jeffrey healed and able to live a normal life? Absolutely not! I still pray, trust and believe that someday my loving Father will answer that prayer. But I’ve finally come to the realization that my true heart’s desire is that I would grow closer and closer to my Heavenly Father every single day.
Because when my focus is on Him, nothing else is really that important, is it?