“Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?”
It’s the question everyone is asking this time of year. Perhaps you feel deeply fulfilled this week from the joy of Christmas celebrations with family and friends. Or perhaps the holidays were a challenge this year because of family or financial struggles. Either way, we all have desires. Sometimes those desires are satisfied; sometimes they go unfulfilled. How do you feel when you have unsatisfied desires? What do you do?
What are your desires? A new gadget? A job? More friends? A cohesive family? To do well in school? To be good at a hobby or sport? To be well-liked? To be different? Many things are perfectly valid to want and work towards. But when we find ourselves unable to get what we desire, we can become frustrated and disappointed.
Sometimes God allows even his own desires to go unfulfilled. Peter writes, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9, ESV, emphasis added). But we know that not everyone turns to God for salvation. Why does God allow unfulfilled desires to exist – for himself and for us? Does he take pleasure in unhappiness, frustration, and disappointment?
On the contrary – whatever God does is ultimately for His glory and our benefit. He is not keeping us from good things that we want but teaching us to want Him above all other things. The psalmist writes,
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him
Psalm 37:3-7a (NKJV, emphasis added)
We can see that for the desires of our hearts to be fulfilled, we must delight ourselves in the Lord. If what we most deeply desire is to know and obey God, He will never withhold Himself from us and we will always be satisfied with the comfort of His presence.
What does it mean to you to delight in the Lord? Do you take time to think about what He has given you that you can be grateful for? Where do your thoughts drift when you have time to think? Do you praise Him in prayer for the detailed and expansive ways He is working in your life? Do you stop to study His Word and recognize those things? Delighting in the Lord starts with understanding who He is and what He has done for us. If we stand atop the mountain of blessings He has lavished on us, our lesser desires, though important, weaken in their power over us.
What are some of your desires for the New Year? Think about your goals and plans for the coming days. Think about your life last year, what you wanted, what happened, and how you saw God working. Take a moment to write these thoughts down. How can you practice desiring God above all other things and taking time to delight in Him?