Friday, June 10, 2016

The Desires of Your Heart

June 10, 2016

     So wrote the psalmist. But I think this one ought to have an asterisk and some fine print to go with it at the bottom of the page. If the desires of your carnal selfish heart are by process of alchemy transformed from profane lead into holy gold, or from something that does not please God into something that pleases Him very much, the desires of your heart will be granted to you. A Scripture promise. The arc words of The Princess Bride book and film were, famously, "As you wish." 

     Why did that farm boy Westley never once complain about how Buttercup treated him like her personal slave? Did he enjoy the degradation? Did he crave the thankless servitude? Why was he so faithful to her for all those years? There came a time that whenever Westley said, "As you wish" in reply to one of Buttercup's commands, in his heart he saying "I love you." If The Princess Bride is a movie that has a place in your heart (and your DVD collection), you already know what became of Westley and Buttercup. You know how the story ends.

     My story, like yours, is still unfolding. The words of my story are still being written, day by day, letter by letter. My Great Romance with God is still unfolding, flowering where no one can see, in the secret place of my heart. The Lord says to me, in the absolute privacy of that secret place, something like: 
     "Farm boy, polish my horse's saddle. I want to see my face shining in it by morning."
     To which I reply, "As you wish." 

     Out of love and devotion, I "polish the horse's saddle" (do what is pleasing to God) until, after a life of righteousness, my works will hopefully reflect His face. This is the Great Romance that will end in heavenly consummation for all of us who love Jesus Christ. 

     So I guess that means if I have God in my life as covenant-partner, I will be completely fulfilled and will want for nothing. Does it mean utter bliss and supreme contentment until the end of my days? No! If I ask, seek, and knock (with the conceit that I am one of His favoured sons) should I not receive exactly what it is I want? No! My heart's desire, in case you were wondering, is to live a normal life as a normal man. A career, a wife, children, a house in the suburbs with a two-car garage. A normal life as a normal man. I'm 37 years old as at the time of this writing and I am pretty sure none of that will ever happen for me. So do I rage against the heavens? Curse God and abandon the narrow path because He will not reward me for being a good boy? Do I waste the rest of my life as a bitter misanthrope whose heart can neither give nor receive the peace that passeth all understanding? 


     I think every romance we experience in life, small or great, is a river running into and out of that one great Ocean, that one Great Romance. In his book The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis wrote: “In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.” I have known, again and again, what it is to be full of this plenteousness. I also know that giving of myself to others, just from my own paltry capacity, cannot compare to sharing water from that infinitely greater well. I feel like I'm a Dixie cup constantly dipping into the Ocean to be full again. I know I was created to desire romantic and erotic love, and I know those desires are altogether good in and of themselves, which is why I revere them as God meant for them to be. 


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