My Desires, God’s Desires

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“Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

A friend lent me the book, Kisses from Katie, awhile back and it finally made it to the top of my pile of reading material.  I’m about three-fourths of the way through it right now and it has been both inspiring and challenging me greatly, just as my friend said it would.

The book is written by Katie Davis, a suburban girl from Nashville, Tennessee who traveled to Uganda after high school in 2007 and never looked back.  She ended up adopting 13 children there and starting a ministry, Amazima, to also feed hundreds of other children and send them to school – all in the name of Jesus.  For many years she raised her adopted children as a single mom, only recently getting married to a fellow missionary also working in Uganda.

While reading Kisses from Katie, my attention was caught right from the introduction when Katie talks about how her understanding of Psalm 37:4 changed quite a bit during her time in Uganda.  But what really stopped me in my tracks was that this shift in perspective was one I also underwent myself years ago – possibly around the same time as she did.  It was incredible to realize that God had been speaking in the same way at the same time to two different women on two different continents in two vastly different contexts.

In her book, Katie says:  “For as long as I can remember, one of my favorite Bible verses has been Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  I used to believe it meant that if I did what the Lord asked of me, followed His commandments, and was a “good girl,” He would grant all my desires and make my dreams come true.  Today this is still one of my favorite passages of Scripture, but I have learned to interpret it in a totally different way.  It is not about God making my dreams come true but about God changing my dreams into His dreams for my life.”

As I read this I was blown away by how her starting place and then new understanding of this verse almost mirrored mine exactly. While I don’t quite remember the point when my view of Psalm 37:4 changed, I can distinctly remember reading it many times before that and thinking as she used to in the beginning.

At first though, I only knew about the second half of the verse.  I would often tell myself (and others) about how God loves us so much and wants to give us our desires if we just trust in Him.  Finally, I can remember coming across the entire verse in my Bible one day.  At that point, my understanding of it was still very egocentric and so I thought as Katie did, “Well I guess this just means I have to be a good Christian and follow all God’s commands and then He will give me all those things I want which I haven’t gotten yet.”

I still didn’t get this fact that God wasn’t talking about giving me my wants and wishes for my life but about placing new ones – His desires for me – in my heart instead.  My whole idea of what was actually being given to me in this verse needed to be turned upside down.  And, as also happened with Katie, it was my wrestling with life experiences not quite matching up to what I had planned which caused a shift in my thinking.

I see this similarity when Katie says later on in the passage: “This is not a life that I dreamed up on my own or even knew I desired.  I am watching God work, and as I “delight myself in the Lord” by doing what He asks of me and by saying yes to the needs He places in front of me, He is changing the desires of my heart and aligning them with the desires of His.  As I go with Him to the hard places, He changes them into the most joyful places I could imagine.” 

If I remember nothing else about Kisses from Katie (which I’m sure will not be the case), I hope that this concept will be one which sticks with me for the long haul.  That, while my life may not always turn out quite as I had planned, if I “delight myself in the Lord” then He will change the previous plans I had to align more fully with His desires for me instead.  And while these new plans might not always be easy ones, God can bring more joy to them than I could ever think was possible.  What a concept – what a God!

“Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)



2 thoughts on “My Desires, God’s Desires

  1. Sue Wilson

    I love your reflection and thoughts! I also read Kisses from Katie and was so struck by Katie’s complete submission to the will of God with such joy and remarkable peace! It is a life changing book! I love what you are sharing with us! Keep sharing!

    1. Bethany Post author

      Thanks, Sue! I just finished Kisses from Katie last night and like what you said about Katie’s submission to God’s will with joy and peace. I could use some more of that in my life I’m sure. 🙂


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