I used to ask God to give me the desires of my heart, and now I see how there are better things to want.
In today’s devotion Father Rohr asks us to “Ask for new desires.”
I first heard about desires in Jr. High. The youth leader taught us Psalm 37, “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” We applied the verse two ways: First, delight in the Lord. Put God first by having a quiet time and obeying (a select few of) the Bible’s teachings about outward behavior. Then ask God for the things you need and want. We were taught: If for some reason you want something that displeases God, God will change you. No stress. (Except that you have to put God first, and most kids can’t.)
Not a bad thing to teach a 7th grader. What parent or youth leader wouldn’t want the kids reading Bibles and asking God for solid stuff like Christian husbands, good grades and success on the ball field?
When I grew up, I noticed that husbands, grades and state championships are passing symbols of abundant life. I also started to want more and more passing symbols like an important job, good kids and attractive luggage. The nature of these symbols is that they come and go. They are desirable for sure, but they are not THE desire of my heart. And the “delight in God” part—while Bible reading and prayer are necessary and good —actual Delight IN God is something else.
And so, how can I describe the new thing I now want? Thank goodness for books, because sometimes I find my deepest desires written out by another person. Martin Buber writes this about me and God…
Yes; in pure relation you have felt yourself to be simply dependent, as you are able to feel in no other relation—and simply free, too, as in no other time or place; you have felt yourself to be both creaturely and creative. You had the one feeling then no longer limited by the other, but you had both of them limitlessly and together.
Thank you Martin Buber. THIS IS what I want.
We are on a 40 day journey through Richard Rohr’s devotions for Lent. Comments and conversation are welcome here and in the Facebook Group.