Lord, I would like to begin my 30-day, risk-free trial. That’s right, I see all of the guarantees, and I want to try it. In Scripture, I keep finding promises that You will satisfy me and fulfill my longings, but after twenty years of singleness, it is difficult to believe that my desires will ever be filled. Perhaps if I can get a free, 30-day trial, it will grow my faith and I will learn to trust You more.
Maybe it is the series on Psalms, at church, that is putting these promises of satisfaction in front of me and making me question my faith. Indeed, when I search for this idea in Scripture, I keep ending up back in Psalms. Last Sunday, the sermon was on Psalms 145, and the words satisfy and fulfills grabbed my attention, even though that theme wasn’t addressed in the sermon. It left me feeling hollow. That is so often the way; thinking about being satisfied or content causes us to reflect on what we want instead of what we have.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
. . .who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. . .He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.
-Psalms 145:16, 19
More than once in my life, I have heard it said that the root of every sin is a failure to trust God. Like Adam and Eve, we sin because we don’t believe that what He has for us is actually the best thing. Certainly, I have some trust issues. It makes me think of that “trust exercise” in which a person is supposed to allow herself to fall backwards, trusting another person to catch her. Most of the time, I believe that God is a good “catcher,” but when it comes to my longings for a husband and children, it seems like high time I give up on Him. At least that is what temptation tells me. It tries to convince me that I should meet these “needs” myself.
It is as if I were standing on a precipice. If I trust God, I will lean back, and surely He will catch me, right? If I lean forward and trust myself, I am sure to stumble and fall on my face. But stumbling can be so tempting. The voice of temptation tells me that falling on my face might be worth it, in the end. I pray; I try to wrestle it out with God. At some point, I need to let go of these desires and dreams, but I’m not good at letting go. Half-heartedly, I pray that God will remove these longings so that I only desire Him. I can’t let go of my dreams enough to pray whole-heartedly for the desires to be gone.
Recently, I have been noticing the gray hairs more. It isn’t a surprise, but it makes me think to myself that my life wasn’t supposed to be this way. As soon as I think that, I hear another voice. It’s the Spirit telling me, “It is supposed to be this way. It’s all according to My perfect plan for you.” I suppose Abraham and Sarah went through this, but I have nothing like the promise they did. (Or do I?) Of course, they stumbled and erred. I want so much to save myself from the kind of drama that they produced with their scheme to “help” God give them a child. Avoiding the “drama” of sin means learning to fight against that voice of temptation.
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
I have always liked James 1:17, but it occurs to me, now, after years of reading and studying the book of James, that I have been pulling it out of context. To grasp the full meaning, it must be kept with the preceding verses. First, we read that God does not tempt us, but we are tempted because our own desires entice us. Then, James instructs that we are not to be deceived by temptation, but we are to remember that the truly good things are from God. God is not holding back on us. It is the Deceiver who tells us that what we desire is best, and that what God gives us is not good enough. To resist, we must stay grounded in the truth of God’s unchanging goodness to us so that we cannot be deceived.
Our desires, in and of themselves, are not always bad, but how easily they can lead us to sin! Trusting God can seem easy, until we realize that He wants us to trust Him with what we hold most dear. Trusting God is an all-or-nothing game, but we try to hold back. Yet, if we are following Christ, and growing in faith, the Holy Spirit is working in our hearts, prying up our fingers to release our grip on those things. Our loved ones, our future, our comfort – He asks for our very lives. But 1 John 2:17 reminds us, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”