Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Deisres Of My Heart

Whew! October…what a crazy month! It’s always a crazy month for me, requiring extra hours at work. Add to that having just moved to a new home and starting a children’s clothing shop with my girls… and this year October felt like a marathon! Not that I really know what a marathon feels like. Since I absolutely do not run. At all. But I can only imagine ….

It feels good to have that crazy month over and turn a new page on the calendar. In my bible studying lately, I have become mesmerized by the Exodus. And the Wilderness.

The Israelites were in bondage for 400 years. That’s a long time. Hard work that only got harder. Slavery that only got more oppressive. And then, in one evening, they were free. Free!

What must that have felt like? No more harsh foremen. No more beatings. No more gathering straw. No more making bricks. Free. Take a deep breath…. Ahhh! That’s the smell of freedom.

But like a new car, freedom doesn’t keep that new smell for long. They missed the good old days. They missed the comforts of home. The security of knowing what’s going on. The familiarity of the norm.  The amenities of life in Egypt. Houses. Food. Schedules. Livestock. A place to call home.

But in their new-found freedom, their lives were changed forever. They were pursued at the start. They wandered. Were hungry. Were thirsty. Lived in tents. And ate the same. Meal. Every. Day.

No, ma’am, it did not take long for the whining to begin. It was only a short time after the celebration singing died down that they lost focus of freedom and missed their old life. At least portions of it. The fonder memories seemed to hold their place in the forefront while the beatings and hardships went unremembered.

Now, lest you think I am dissing the Israelites, please understand that I am not. In fact, if I had been in the crowd, the whining would undoubtedly have begun much sooner. It would have sounded something like this:

Me: “These shoes! I need new ones, Moses.”

Moses: “Sharon, what’s wrong with the shoes? They look fine to me. Do they hurt your feet?”

Me: “ No. I’m tired of them. I want new ones. These just don’t fit my style anymore. Can we stop at the mall? I want a new pair. Maybe in a bright color, maybe some sequins too.”

Moses: “I don’t see a mall around here; you’re just going to have to make do with the pair you are wearing.”

And at this point, girls, is where the whining would have began. Seriously. A new pair of shoes just makes the sun shine brighter. Are you with me?  40 years in the same shoes? Really? I like shoes. I like many many shoes.

My sisters enjoy telling the story of the time I limped behind them through the mall. Yes, I limped. And whined. In public. I wanted new shoes. My sisters had each gotten new shoes that day and I wanted a pair too. They were embarrassed by their little sister’s behavior. But desperate times call for desperate measures… and I eventually got the shoes. {grin}

Yes, had I been in the desert, instead of being amazed at the fact that my shoes didn’t wear out, instead of seeing God’s power through it, I’m sure I would have whined. No doubt.

Because when I want what I want I forget to want what God wants. All I can see is what I want. All that  makes sense is what I want.

The Israelites went from bondage to a foreign country to bondage to their desires. But it didn’t have to be that way. God wanted the Israelites to see His power. And see His provisions. And His protection. He wants me to see that today. He wants you to see that too.

How many times do you and I miss seeing God’s provision? How often do we miss seeing what God wants because we’re too busy seeing what we want? Are we too busy wishing for the things we want, that we miss the blessing of what He has already given us?

I want my own interpretation of Psalm 37:4 to prevail.  I want God to give me everything my heart desires. Because, deep down, I believe that is where happiness begins.

I want to begin with delighting in the desires of my heart, but God wants me to begin with delighting in Him. When I delight in Him. Pursue knowing Him. Study His ways. Lean into His love. He will put right desires in my heart. My heart will be delighted with Him.

And that is where is began in the first place. With desires in the heart. It seems when I am left to come up with my own desires, that is what gets me into trouble. But if I allow God to put His desires there, I find the freedom and comforts of home that I have been looking for all along.