Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” My problem was that I didn’t believe it! Not really, not at the level of my heart and soul. I also know that many of us struggle to believe this. Why? What’s the problem? There it is in black and white right there in God’s word but yet we don’t take it to heart. What’s up?
We don’t trust God anymore. That’s the problem.
Satan’s lie in the Garden of Eden was to paint God as untrustworthy; “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” There it is. He twists God’s words and casts doubts on God’s essential goodness. Eve fell for it, then Adam and we’ve been falling for it ever since. You can’t trust God; he’s not for you; he’s not good and so on.
But it’s a lie. God is good, he is for us and he is absolutely trustworthy. For me, the biggest thing I had to accept was that he loved me – deeply, personally, unconditionally. I was his beloved son. My dad is a good man but I didn’t grow up feeling adored, delighted in, beloved just because I was his son. I took that into my relationship with God. I understood the concept that God loved me, just as I understood that my dad loved me, but I didn’t know it in my heart. It wasn’t part of my daily reality.
Yes, I knew it for months after my conversion at 16 and there were moments in worship when the tears would come and his love seemed real, but being the beloved son was not part of my core identity. I didn’t live out of that place. I lived out of fear and timidity much of the time. God has his sense of humour though. As addicted as I was to my comfort zones God would keep stretching me. I found myself preaching, going to Bible College, teaching classes, going through a marriage crisis, going close to burnout, becoming a parent and becoming a pastor.
And now my heart is catching up. I recently watched the latest Robin Hood movie (directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe). The catch-phrase for the movie was, “Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.” The movie stirred my heart. His journey from being a “common archer” to a man with a noble heart and a heroic mission felt like the gospel to me. It also felt like my story. Robin’s turning point came when he discovered that his father was a hero and that he was his father’s beloved son.
I too am my Father’s beloved son. I too take my place in his legacy and in his story. I also know that I’m not on my own. Jesus is our eldest brother who took this journey for us and we follow him. What’s true for him is true for us. Through his life, sacrifice and resurrection we come to know that God is good, trustworthy and loving. As a result of embracing this in my new heart this timid boy is becoming a man after God’s own heart. The lamb is becoming a lion. The desires of my heart are becoming reality.