Last month Doug and I finally saw something we’d been waiting and praying to see for two and a half years: the sale of our Mississippi house. It wasn’t the way we wanted it to sell, but it is sold. And it is a relief. The process, though, was anything but delightful.
You see, Doug and I never missed a payment. Sometimes it came through renters. Other times through God’s miraculous manipulation of our finances. Still other times through the generous help of people who loved us. But, every payment was always made. On time, nonetheless.
As we faced month after month of the house being on the market with no nibbles or interest, we were told that we should call the bank and talk to them before missing a payment to see what kind of help they could give us. What kind of options we might have were we to get to the point where we couldn’t make a payment.
Unfortunately, no such help existed.
The banks, it seems, bend over backwards to help people who have missed payment after payment, but those of us who call for help after having a perfect history are told that our only option is to keep paying or face dire consequences. Or, as in our situation, for the bank to just take over the whole process without our knowledge or permission; an action which ended up with them forcing us into delinquency even though we never actually missed a payment, even to the very end.
It seemed as if we were being punished for doing the right thing.
In the middle of all of this mess, I read Psalm 37. Early in this lengthy but wonderful psalm we find a very well-known verse.
Delight yourselves in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:4
So, what was the deal with us? We were delighting ourselves in the Lord! Why was He not meeting the desire our our heart to sell the house well?
As I dug more deeply into the psalm, I noticed something. Psalm 37 is not necessarily offering a general comfort in hard times that delighting in the Lord will give us the desires of our hearts. Instead, it is a encouragement related to the command to be set apart. The evil do it this way…but You trust in the Lord. The way of the evil man will fail, so if we follow the world’s method of obtaining our desires, we too will fail. Only trust and delight in the Lord succeeds. And it succeeds God’s way, not ours.
This is not a "God’s going to overflow you with your desires if you just trust Him" pat on the back. This is practically a command: You are set apart. Do it God’s way. Yes, it’s going to look bad, but you are not to do things the world’s way. Commit yourself to Him. Delight yourself in Him. Trust in Him. He’ll take care of it. Even when it seems impossible, He will do it. Just don’t follow the ways of evil men, no matter what the circumstances look like. And then when it’s all said and done, realize that God’s will was accomplished and it is absolutely delightful!
Through the whole house situation, I felt one desire most strongly – that God be glorified. Yes, I wanted the house sold very badly, but I wanted to see it done in such a way as to show those involved how God works. When everything happened the way it did, I was discouraged because I couldn’t see how God was glorified. Even now I wonder how He was honored through it all. But, as I process it all in light of Psalm 37, I realize that God’s glory doesn’t always come the way we think it’s going to come. And our desires aren’t always fulfilled the way we think they’re going to be. But, if we delight ourselves in Him, allow ourselves to be set apart, and follow the command to do it His way, He WILL be glorified, whether we can see it or not. Of that there is no doubt. And when He is glorified, our desires are fulfilled – we just have to learn to open our eyes to see and accept the fulfillment His way.