One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I see after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4
If you could have one wish, what would it be? Cure cancer? Establish world peace? Have children? Get married? Be debt free? Eat ice cream every day and never gain weight? Maybe you are the practical type and would just ask for more wishes.
We all have wishes: things we’d like to change about ourselves, our circumstances, or our world. King David had a lifelong wish as well. In Psalm 27:1-4, David outlines the ultimate desire of his heart. Since David was known to be a man after God’s own heart, it’s worth looking at his heart’s wish.
Before we can look inside David’s heart, we have to look at where he has placed his heart. In Psalm 27:1-3, David establishes that his life is held secure in God’s hands. David has firmly placed his trust in God. He trusts God to lead, save, and protect him. David is so sure of God’s protection that he is not afraid. He does not worry about enemies or adversaries. Even when he is under siege, he is not afraid.
When I feel overwhelmed, anxious and afraid, I need to stop and ask myself: “Where have I placed my heart? Have I placed it in my job? My friendships? My bank account? My health? My children?” I need to get truthful with myself and look to see where I have placed my heart. Fear is a clue for me that something is wrong with my heart. It can be a sign that I have stopped trusting God with the details of my life.
David is confident he’s going to be okay no matter what because he has placed his life in God’s hands. To David’s heart, God’s protection is greater than any fear he will face. He doesn’t need to wish for protection or salvation from what he fears, because he knows he is safe. If I am going to follow David’s example, I need to do the same thing and entrust my heart to God’s hands.
By placing the control of his life in God’s hands, David is free to pursue his heart’s desire. So, what is David’s wish? What does he ask for? What does he seek? Let’s look what is inside David’s heart and find his one wish.
In Psalm 27:4, David articulates his wish. His one wish is to simply be with the Lord. David’s biggest desire in life is to hang out with God every day. He wants to sit with God, listen to Him, and talk to Him. He wants to know God and be known by Him. He wants an intimate relationship with God. David wants God to be his best friend.
If I am honest with myself, spending time with God is not always my top priority. I often seek a clean sink or folded laundry before a moment with my Lord. I’ll choose to listen to an audiobook while on a run instead of engaging in a conversation with my God. I’ll text a friend before I kneel in prayer. In not seeking God’s presence first, I let fears and worries creep into my unguarded heart.
I don’t know about you, but I struggle. Fear causes me to worry about all kinds of things and circumstances. Because my life is not firmly planted in the hands of my Lord, I am trying to control it instead of relinquishing it. The desire of my heart is not for a deeper relationship with God, but with being free from the hard circumstances surrounding me. Desiring to be free from my fears leads me to wish for the wrong things.
But, what if I changed my wish? What if I stopped wishing to be free from my fears and wished instead that God would use my fears to draw me closer to Him? What if I took my worries and sat down with Him and shared them, as if He was my closest confidante? What if every day I spent more time with Him than without Him? What if I just took a moment each day and gazed around me and saw Him? What if I incorporated conversation with Him throughout the routine of my day?
Maybe, just maybe, then like David I too can say with confidence: “the Lord is the stronghold of my life, of whom shall I be afraid...one thing have I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life…” (Psalm 21:1-4). I don’t know about you, but I want to make my wishes count.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19
I struggle with change. Change produces a churning of uneasiness in my stomach as if I am swaying on suspension bridge strung high across a vast expanse.
As an introvert, change requires groundwork for me. My reactions to new things are directly correlated to the amount of preparation I am given. In other words I don’t do spontaneous well. Once I am grounded in my surroundings, like a well planted tree, I am not easily moved. Change, whether it is good or bad, expected or unexpected, throws me for a loop. The unknown of change is like a wilderness.
Needless to say, the past ten months have brought rapid unnerving change into my life. Maybe you too have felt toppled by changes this past year. These new changing landscapes require navigation on a steep learning curve.
In the same way, the Israelites were no strangers to change. When the book of Isaiah was written, they were crying out for freedom from the bondage of Babylon. They were far from home. Captive. They were desperate for change. They could not see a way out of their dark situation and they were losing hope. Their faith in God was slipping away.
In the midst of this desperate emotional and physical landscape, the prophet Isaiah reminds Israel of God’s past faithful deliverance. The images presented in verses 17 and 18 would not have been lost on them. The story of the miraculous parting of the Red Sea and ultimate destruction of the mighty Egyptian army was embedded deep in their collective memory. God was calling the people to remember how He had rescued them before. In the same way, God calls us to remember His past faithfulness in our lives.
But, the message doesn’t stop there. It continues with words of hope. No matter how well our minds know that God is faithful, our hearts need something to hold on to when we are in dark places. Verse 19 offers us hope, if we will stop and look for it. Through the prophet, God tells his people: remember my faithfulness, then pause for a moment. Stop and look. Look and See it. See it and perceive it. Perceive it and notice it. I am doing new things. I am making something new and wonderful out of what you are going through. If you will take a moment and look around you will see it. Things may look dry and bleak right now, but I, your God, am making a river in the desert.
So often this past year has felt dry and bleak, but in the midst of this quarantine, isolate, shelter at home, keep your distance wilderness I have seen God. When I stop and look I can catch glimpses of the rivers He has been building: restored intimacy in relationships, prayer warriors raised up, priorities shifted, and a dependency on Him built.
When we find ourselves lost in a wilderness of change or uncertainty, desperate for a way out, seeking direction, let’s remember how God delivered us in the past. Let’s look for what He is currently doing, tune into His presence, and trust Him to lead us from the past, through the wilderness safely home. He never leaves us. We just need to look.
Between a husband, 2 sons, and teaching high school my sanity is found in running and Starbucks. I have a circle of running friends who inspire me to be authentic and real as I live a life of faith before them.