Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4 (NASB)
“To take delight in someone means we experience great pleasure in that person’s presence. We come away from our time together uplifted, refreshed, and encouraged; wanting to spend more time with that person.”
That exhortation from King David was on our wedding invitation 41 years ago. It continues to be fulfilled in my marriage. How the desires of my heart have been fulfilled with the joy of being in my wife’s presence. But I was wondering about Rabbi Eckstein’s description of “delight” as it applies to our times in Jesus’ presence. Do I always come away from my time with Jesus “uplifted, refreshed, and encouraged?” Sometimes. I would even say many times. But …
Sometimes, when confronted with my own sins and failings, I don’t feel uplifted.
Sometimes, when I am following Jesus’ teaching on prayer from Luke 18 and I am praying and trying not to lose heart, I often don’t feel refreshed.
Sometimes, when, like Epaphras, I am “always struggling” on someone’s behalf in prayer that they may “stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God,” (Colossians 4:12) I don’t feel encouraged.
Sometimes, when I speak to a mountain, and it doesn’t move immediately to the sea, I struggle going back to my prayer closet and spending time with Jesus. (Mark 11:23 and Matthew 21:21)
But the joy and the delight is that these are only “sometimes.” Not all the time. And I am heartened by the encouragement of Jesus that He would not have taught us to “always pray and not lose heart” unless that was part of the way things are. And when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He taught them about impudent prayer (Luke 11:1-13) : encouraging them to ask and (in the Greek verb tense) keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking; knock and keep on knocking.
And all of that gives us great integrity in our relationship with Jesus. Not unlike our relationships with real people and in real marriages where we take delight in real people, we can truly delight in our relationship with the real Jesus in the midst of a world of tribulation.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33