I'm beginning every Monday morning of 2016 with words from a great mind. Encouraging quotes from believers who have finished the course before us and run well to the end. My prayer is that they will give both you and me the boost we need to start our week hopeful and fixed on Jesus.
"Will the young woman find a mate? Will the couple have a child? Maybe this year will be the year of desire fulfilled. Perhaps, on the other hand, it will be the year of desire radically transformed, the year of finding, as we have perhaps not yet truly found, Christ to be the All-Sufficient One, Christ the Deep Sweet Well of Love.'" Elisabeth Elliot, Keep a Quiet Heart
If you were to ask me what would make my life better, happier, or more productive, I could rattle off a long list for you. A better job for my husband, a home to call our own, more money and freedom to travel and visit family, more sleep, and on it goes. Oh I know what I want in life, and it is very easy to focus on my unfulfilled desires.
And maybe this year will be a big year for us. Maybe all of our ducks will line up in a row, maybe things will look up, maybe it will be just one big dream come true. Maybe.
The sneaky thing about desires is that the moment one is fulfilled, another new one rushes to fill its place. We are highly discontented creatures. This world has been full of disappointments ever since Adam and Eve stole the forbidden fruit in the Garden. With their sin came the Fall, death, and misery. Genesis tells me that there will be sickness, there will be sorrow, and my life will not be perfect... until the New World comes.
All of these imperfections, all of these hurts and desires unfulfilled, can do one of two things. They can either embitter and push me away from God, or they can cause me to flee to Him for refuge, comfort, and contentment. My prayer is that we would choose the second option.
When I look at my list of desired life improvements, I can clearly see that it is my desires, and not my life, that need radical transformation. It's been said that Jesus+Nothing=Everything, and I find that truest when the lesser desires go unfulfilled.
When everything is sunshine and peaches and roses it is easy to forget the good God who has given all good things. His greatest gifts to me have been pain and uncertainty and desperation, because it is those undesired gifts that bring me down on my knees before Him. Trials deepen my experiential knowledge of God. They draw me closer to Him.
There have been times in my life when I have found Christ to be the All-Sufficient One, the Deep Sweet Well of Love. I can look back on my miscarriages, and my daughter's extremely premature birth, and I can see how the Lord in His kindness cared for us, gave us great peace, and brought us through. Knowing Him in that way in those days was a very precious gift.
Yet I confess that this is not my every day experience. This year, more than ever, I want to know Him this way, and to desire Him above all else.
"Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you." Psalm 73: 25
May this be the year in which our desires are radically transformed. May we ever find that Christ is truly all we need. Certainly any deficiency in our experience of His sufficiency is a reflection not upon Him, but the state of our own hearts.