Turn your deep valley experiences into mountaintop visions- Part 4
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4).
In our previous weekly Bible insights, we talked in our valley experiences of life, we have a choice to fret and jealous because of evildoers and wrongdoers or to trust the character of God, do good, dwell in the land and feed on God’s faithfulness. There is no need to fret and feel jealousy about evildoers and wrongdoers. Why? Verse 2 says, “they will wither quickly like the grass, and fade like the green herb.” They may look like winning for a short period of time, but they won’t Bible asserts. Bible says in Psalm 73:18, “Surely you (God) place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin”. So don’t fret about people who do wrong to you or even feel jealous of them. Instead, we have discussed four things to do in the previous weekly Bible insights- Trust in the character of God, do good, dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness.
Now this week we will discuss the fourth point and that is “Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Now, the valley is a time you feel like not delighted much about anything let alone God, right? You may be thinking how can I delight in the Lord when I feel totally bad in my emotions? I am hurt and deeply painful and you are asking me to delight in the Lord? I have trouble and difficulties around me, don’t you understand?
My friend, if you think about many Christian hymns and songs that we sing today came from the deep valley experiences of people’s life. David wrote many lamentation songs but in the midst of lamentations He praised and worshipped the Lord right in the midst of his sufferings. He expressed His hope in the Lord in the valleys. He expressed his faith in the Lord for deliverance.
Delight in the Lord is an act of your will, not a product of your feelings or emotions
You see, giving thanks and praises to God in the midst of your severe valley experiences is not certainly easy. Do you know what? Praising God is an act of your will. I remember my college days when I was a graduate student. I spend many sleepless nights to prepare for tests and finishing up projects. My feelings said you are tired and it is ok, you don’t need to work hard etc. But I didn’t allow my feelings to take control of me. Do you know you don’t have to follow your feelings? If you exercise your will eventually your feelings will follow your decisions. I can look back and testify whenever I allowed my feeling to control my decision, those were my times of failure. Whenever I allowed my will to delight in the Lord and let feelings follow my decisions, those were pretty much successful times. You can exercise your will to delight in the Lord when you are in the valley times. God will honor your decision to delight in Him.
You see, Daniel was one of the three Hebrew boys who was exiled to Babylon by king Nebuchadnezzar. Bible says in Daniel 1:8-9 says, “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials.”
Daniel was away from his own country, his own land and temple were destroyed. They were taken to a foreign land as slaves. He could have thought where is the God of Israel? I am not going to follow this God anymore. Why did all these tragedies happen to God’s chosen people? But instead of allowing his feelings to control him, he exercised his will by making up his mind to delight in the Lord in obeying Him. Instead of giving importance to his feelings, he gave first place to God. In other words, he exercised his will to delight in the Lord although his circumstances were not good for him or his family.
Delight in the Lord is a learned behavior like all other habits.
Secondly, do you know delighting in God in the midst of trials, loneliness, and sufferings is a learned behavior? If you think about it, all our habits are learned. Becoming an alcoholic is not easy as you may imagine. One of my friends said to me he hated the taste and smell of alcohol, but he wanted to show his friends that he is cool and strong. Even though he didn’t like the taste of it, he patiently tried again and again and became an addict to alcohol. I know a young person needs to try again and again to smoke the cigarettes because it is not easy to learn this habit in the initial stages. Afer several attempts, he becomes an expert smoker. You see, all good and bad are learned behaviors.
We can learn the habit of delighting in the Lord as well. Once you learned this habit of praising and delighting God in the midst of your difficulties, it becomes a good and God-honoring habit in you.
Ephesians 5: 20 says, “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” Did you notice it says “always giving thanks for all things?” We can learn the habit of giving thanks for all things always. Bible says in Romans 8:28, “God causes all things to work together for God to those who love and to those who are called according to His purpose.” Because God causes all things (including bad things happened to us) to work together eventually for our good, we can give thanks confidently for all things- good or bad.
Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Do you know what is the will of God for your life? God’s will for you in Christ Jesus is this – in everything give thanks. Not just for good things only but in everything – good and bad.
If this is the will of God, why don’t we put our will to practice this behavior of giving thanks to the Lord and delight in Him right in the midst of our painful circumstances? Many other things we put our effort to practice anyway. Why don’t we put our effort into this good God-honoring habit?
Delight in the Lord becomes a sacrifice of praise.
Bible says in Hebrews 13: 5 says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”
We are asked to offer to God a sacrifice of praise. You see, when everything is going alright in your life, it is easy to praise God, right? But when everything going bad it is not easy. You cannot follow your feelings and offer a sacrifice of praise to God in these difficult times. Because your feeling may not allow you to praise God. But you will need to activate your will to praise God and then your praise becomes a sacrifice to God. When the dear one is taken away from you, when your child is terminally ill when you lose your job and not have money to pay the bills, then praising God becomes a sacrifice of offering to the God. When we don’t understand things happening to us and there is no human way to explain, can you still praise God and delight in Him? That decision, will and action to praise God then become a sacrifice of praise to God. Though we don’t understand all, we declare that God is still good and faithful and He will make a way and deliver. Why? Because God is a loving and kind God and He is a faithful God. Bible says in Psalm 30:11 what God did to David in his painful circumstances. David says, “You ( the Lord) have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.” Though we don’t understand and don’t see any lights at the end of the tunnel, we know God is good and He is faithful and powerful to turn around our circumstances for our good and His glory. God did this innumerable times for His dear ones. He will do that for you as well. Therefore you can delight in Him in your valley experiences.
Result – He will give you the desires of your heart.
The second part of our verse says when you delight in the Lord in the midst of your painful circumstances, He will honor you and ‘give you the desires of your heart.’
My friend when you make up your mind to delight in the Lord, Bible promises in this verse that He will give you the desires of your heart.
Wow! Your desires become His desires
You see, when you delight in the Lord, then your desires become His desires and it is easy for Him to approve and give you all the desires of your heart. Why? Your desire is His will and desire any way. As you delight in the Lord, the desire of your heart is what God put it there for you. Your heart’s desire will be gripped by His desire and you are going to walk in the desire and will of God. The loving Lord sanctifies your desires and He starts filling in you those wonderful Godly desires. You will experience a transformation in your desires and your desire becomes His desire and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Praise God for the valley experiences. You don’t need to fret wrongdoers or evildoers. You don’t need to be jealous of these evil people. They will come out of bushes when you decide to delight in God and do His desires. They may start ridiculing and even threaten you because Satan is terrified when he sees a child of God delights in God. Remember Hebrews 4:13, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” But when you make up your mind to delight in the Lord and His ways in your valleys, He transforms you to a divine and higher grounds and appoints you for His tasks in the days ahead.
Prayer time: In your valley time make God your best friend. Bible says He is a ‘friend who sticks closer than a brother’ (Proverbs 18:24). God loves you and committed to you that He gave only begotten son – Jesus Christ- to save you and take you to heaven. You can spend eternity in heaven with God. God will save you from all your problems and will give you abundant and most satisfied life. Bible says in Psalm 55:22, “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you.”
Will you pray after me now to come to God for His salvation?
“God, I come to you and bring you my pain, sufferings, and problems that I face. I know you care about me and loves me. I believe Christ died, buried and risen for my sins and I accept Him as my savior and Lord. Please help and save me. Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer, please go to contact/prayer tab and send me a note. I will be thrilled to hear from you.