Friday, October 9, 2009


Last week at church, I noticed two different mentions of "desires" in our church's order of worship, even though the sermon didn't specifically deal with that.

The first was a line from a prayer from The Valley of Vision (p. 354): "I praise you for the throne of grace, that here free favor reigns; that open access to it is through the blood of Jesus; that the veil is torn aside and I can enter the holiest and find You ready to hear, waiting to be gracious, inviting me to pour out my needs, encouraging my desires, promising to give more than I ask or think."

The next lines were in the hymn we sang, "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty":

"Hast thou not seen how thy desires e'er have been
Granted in what he ordaineth?"

I made a note at the time that the two views of our desires struck me as different. In the first, the Lord is "encouraging our desires." The picture from that prayer rather reminded me of going to see Santa Claus. (I know the Puritan who wrote it would be shocked, but I'm in confession mode here.) The Lord is sitting there on his throne, waiting for me to climb up on his knee and read out my list. Then he would pat me on the head and promise me to deliver, assuming I was a good girl. I doubted that view was right, but I have to admit there's a part of me that likes that picture.

But the lines from the hymn...well, those seem to say that God's in charge. He knows what's best and he ordains it. We're going to get what we need from him, even if it isn't necessarily what we want. That sounded more true to me, but did I like it as much?

I put the church bulletin aside for several days, then pulled it out again just now. And this time, I didn't see much of a contradiction. The other lines of the hymn that I didn't reproduce here also talk about spending time with the Lord, praising him, drawing near to him in his temple. In both cases, we're spending time with God, getting so close to him that we know him. We love him and praise him and want to please him. And through that process, we should arrive at a point that what we desire for ourselves is the same thing that he desires for us. Then our desires are "granted in what he ordaineth."

I wonder daily how close I am to that point. I have a lot of desires, I must confess. God answers one prayer and I immediately start whining for something else, like a spoiled child.

A lot of my desires have to do with accomplishments. I want those achievements bad! And when I seem to be stuck in place, I sometimes find it hard to be the person God wants me to be. So are those achievement goals what God wants for me? Do I really know his mind well enough that I only desire what he wants for me?

That's a tough journey. I want to be at that place, but I know I'm not that close to him yet.

1 comment:

  1. This is a VERY relevant post for me, as I have been struggling for months with desires which sometimes seem like too much- like maybe I'm putting them above my desire for God. Sometimes I look at it like this, and think, in a way, that's what this blog is about- that ALL of our desires, even the bad ones, are really a desire for God, and that He is the complete fulfillment of every desire- not in bad ways- like for example, if people desire to shoot up heroine, that's obviously an ungodly desire, but the desire which creates the need for that drug is really and truly a desire for God. I think in the words of our friend C.S. Lewis, "shadows" of the real One. But know that you are not alone in sometimes wanting those shadows so much that it's hard to see the real One. I struggle with that constantly! Great post, Rob!