Our Desires; His Promises
BY LAUREN KOSKI
I simply desire to eat an entire tin of Creme de Piroulines. Yet, I also desire to stop eating so many of those flaky, hazelnut wafers. And they are indeed wafers, they are disintegrating on my tongue, disappearing too quickly.
In the morning, I struggle to wake and greet my Savior — my heart’s desire instead, is to snooze, and snooze, and snooze. As I go about my day, I desire to succumb to fears, take the easy route, give in to my irritability, and play the Pharisee.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart,” Psalm 37:4.
Sometimes, we simply don’t desire anything good at all. If God granted me every desire of my heart, I’d be consumed and then those fulfilled desires would not be fulfilling. They would dissolve quickly like wafers.
A close friend and I have similar desires to use our photographs to help people, to genuinely and strategically bless them, and to spark a change in their souls, not just their hearts.
“Pay attention to those desires, Lauren,” she once told me.
It’s possible specific, detailed, and holy desires are just the ingredients for a life of service to God. These are the desires that are birthed from our delight in Him. Maybe there’s a reason we ache to see them when we look in the mirror, like our reflection is only two dimensional. Like there's a piece missing from our purpose.
But selfish intention springs up from my sickened heart, once again, and I find my photographs often do not reflect a delight and desire for my Lord, but for my own glory — for the lust of mere Piroulines.
In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, a delegation of Israelites exiled in Babylon return to a ruined Jerusalem, passionate to continue its restoration. Part of this project is to reignite the moral and spiritual climate. So, standing on a wooden platform, Ezra and Nehemiah begin stirring the hearts of God’s people. They praise Yahweh for His steadfast grace from the beginning of their nationhood.
“And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous,” (Nehemiah 9:8).
But the exiles’ historically selfish desires make an appearance and they eventually abandon their spirituality, neglect the temple, and dishonor the Sabbath. In response, Nehemiah beats up some folks and pulls out their hair, praying God will remember how he tried to help. And the book of Nehemiah ends on that rather anticlimactic note.
Throughout scripture, God promises to give us our heart’s desires, but He also warns:
Our hearts are deceptive and aren't so trustworthy (Jeremiah 17:9).
Our hearts make plans, but God knows which plan is best for us (Proverbs 16:9).
We cannot always rely on what we think; we are asked instead to trust (Proverbs 3:5).
God has the last word (Proverbs 16:1).
Be careful what you treasure — what you desire (Matthew 6:21).
So don't you dare "follow your heart," Kindred, but pay attention to Christ’s voice echoing in your desires, preach Christ's gospel to your deceptive heart, and take captive anything that is not fueled by a passion for your Savior. Let's try to push down that gag reflex, that choke in our throats, cozy up to Jesus, and admit some of our seemingly godly desires are actually fueled by a love of self.
But there is hope for our hearts.
“I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26).
We are ultimately longing for Christ. Like restoring the wreckage of Jerusalem, He is digging out our greatest desire from the sinful rubble of our hearts. All the while, and even on our most sinful days, God’s desire for us never ceases. Through Christ, He daily offers us Himself. And that is His promise.