“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
This verse has always intrigued and challenged me. I mean, right here before me, I literally have the key to getting my heart’s desires. But it has proven a difficult key to turn. The key is to “delight myself in the Lord.” Whaaaaat? Delight myself in the Lord? Really? I can delight in ice cream. I can delight in a day off with no responsibilities and money to blow. I can even delight in my job – when the students are on task and my lesson plans are on point – no problem. But delight in the Lord? How does one do that?
I thought I had it figured out (see previous post entitled “Jesus Time”). Things were going well…until two months ago. Two months ago I was employed. Two months ago I had more than enough money to pay my bills. Two months ago I was on schedule to complete my master’s degree. Two months ago… And now? Now, none of those things are a reality. In short, I have not really been in the mood to delight, which has left my relationship with Jesus brittle and dry.
As I came to Jesus tonight, this verse popped in my head, and (If I’m honest) I was discouraged. “Lord, “ I asked, “ how am I supposed to delight in anything when everything is so…just…yuck?”
The Holy Spirit replied, “Well, first the verse doesn’t say delight in the good times or when you feel like it. It simply says delight.” Okaay…. Talk about a brain bomb. That got me thinking. As I continued to pray and meditate on the verse, the Holy Spirit went on to explain that delighting doesn’t just happen on sunny Saturday afternoons after all the bills have been paid, my work is done and I got to sleep in. I should be delighting at all times.
“But…how do I do that?” I asked. I honestly could not see how to delight in anything –even Jesus- when I felt so unsettled and discombobulated. Truly, all I wanted to do was lock myself in my room and binge-watch TV over a couple of gallons of Rocky Road until all of my worries magically disappeared. Delighting was very much far away from what I felt like doing – and I told the Holy Spirit as much.
“Fair enough,” He said. “It’s actually impossible to delight and worry at the same time so I can see how you feel that way.”
Another brain bomb dropped. Isn’t it great how the Holy Spirit just does that?
“You have to give up your worries before you can delight.” He went on to say. “Give them to Me. I’ll take them – then instead of spending your time worrying you can spend your time delighting.”
This obviously sounded like an unfair trade in my favor and if He wanted my cares, worries, fears, and anxieties He could have them. So I gave them up. I laid them at the feet of my Lord. I literally went through the list of worries that keep my mind spinning throughout the day and pictured myself laying each one at the throne of God. It took a minute but as I wrapped it up, racking my brain for anything I may have missed the Holy Spirit gave me this warning, “Now, leave them there. Do NOT pick them back up.” Boom – another bomb. It’s like the Holy Spirit knew my heart. Like He knew me and made me or something. I have a tendency to go back to my worries. Mull things over. Try to work things out. And He knew it.
“OK.” I said, and saw myself walking away empty-handed as my worries sat before the throne. In reality, I picked up my Bible and turned to Psalm 37:4. I had only memorized that one verse and wanted to see what the rest of the chapter read. I was delighted (pun intended) when I read just before verse 4. It read:
“Trust in Adonai and do good;
settle in the land, and feed on faithfulness.
Then you will delight yourself in Adonai,
and he will give you your heart’s desire.“ (Psalm 37:3-4 CJB)
After reading the verses, words echoed through my mind.
Trust – Settle –Feed – Then Delight.
Trust – Settle –Feed – Then Delight.
Trust – Settle – Feed – Then Delight
I am to trust in the Lord by placing all my worries before Him, trusting that He took the worst things in life; sickness, poverty, suffering and more, on the cross so that I could live free, able to enjoy the best of this life.
I am to settle in this time, in this moment. I am to be present, looking not to the past or the future for peace and hope but only to Jesus who is the beginning and the end and everything in between.
I am to feed on His faithfulness that has always secured the strong, loving relationship between us. I am to find my sustenance in Him.
Then…I will delight. Then…I CAN delight. And my God is so good that when I delight He promises to give me something that only He can truly give…the desires of my heart!
So as I sit here, just minutes after this illumination from my Best Friend, the Holy Spirit, I am more than encouraged. I am expectant. I expect that, not only will the situations I face work out, but I expect that in the process I will be able to delight. Here. Now. Tomorrow morning when I wake up and my situation remains the same…I will be able to delight. I will be able to delight because by the help and power of the Holy Spirit I will trust. I will settle. I will feed and then…I will delight.