Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
This would be a cruel verse if it was taken as many want to take it, that God is a type of limitlessly rich uncle that will give you what you want if you just buddy up to Him enough.
Think about it in light of Psalm 16:4-5, “Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more. I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods or take up their names on my lips. Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.”
Timothy Keller says it well. Unlike ancient societies, “we may not believe in literal divine god-beings of beauty, wealth, pleasure, or fertility. But we must all live for something, and if we live and love anything more than God himself, we are trapped.
When we aim the deepest hungers in our hearts towards things that can run out, become lost, taken away, divorced, or even grow old we trap ourselves in the long run. It is to our harm to give our limitlessly hungry hearts to limited, expendable, or decaying things.
God works to mature our desires before He fulfills them.
The Psalms are not a picture of God giving a spoiled child whatever he or she wants if they would only suck up to Him. No, this is a maturing of the believer into the place where their desires align with God’s will. He literally gives us the right desires as we mature.
Right desires are a much greater gift than mere perishable things.
Moreover, I don’t believe God mutes or dulls our desires, I think God is always turning our desires up so high that only He can satisfy them. This isn’t to make us miserable; it’s to point the way to the true and limitless fountain. Can you see it? Over time the hunger for intimacy grows so high that no mere physical or sexual action in and of itself can fulfill it. Our desire for security grows so high that no walls or wealth can actually put our hearts at ease. Our desire to be known and loved grows so high that no amount of fame can satisfy. Lesser joys always leave us hungry for more. This is the gift of God, a growing desire for the fountain itself. The truest of loves is “the only food the universe can grow on.” -C.S. Lewis
God will not give you the desires of your heart, no, He gives your heart right desires when you lean into Him.
References: Timothy Keller, The Songs of Jesus, C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
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