Are and All
I know I am probably not alone when I share with you the "bent" I have in life to continually "think ahead". It is sometimes a bit of a "curse" to not be able to shut off your thoughts, to constantly be trying to find ways for something to be "better". It as though your mind is almost always set to "on" and there is very little time in your life when you let it go to "off". Sure, you have a "dimmer switch" of sorts, which allows you to "shut down" a little, but you might even find yourself waking from a sound sleep thinking through something which stumped you a little bit earlier in the day. Some say this tendency is kind of "genius", but I am far from "genius" in my IQ. I just have a mind which likes to be challenged, works hard at what gets put in it, and then looks for new ways to challenge myself. When I am the one always trying to figure out the "puzzle" in front of me, I sometimes find it hard to be satisfied with what I have. It is like I am always trying to improve upon what I have. Sometimes God just wants me to stop doing the improving and allow him to go to work - for his plan or answer is going to be the best one anyway!
Take great joy in the Eternal! His gifts are coming, and they are all your heart desires! (Psalm 37:4 VOICE)
A little quote on a friends media feed the other morning caused me to stop a moment to ponder the truth behind it. The idea was one of constantly being on the lookout for the things in life which will somehow make you "happy". We probably all suffer from this one, at least a little. We forget happiness is a feeling and not a "state of life". We forget contentment is the goal, not always the things which tickle our happiness emotion. The quote really challenged us to stop looking in the next "place", "job", or even the next "relationship" to be "the one" which will make us happier than we are right now. The idea behind the quote was the truth that happiness is not found in "the next" anything, but in the way we approach and work through the present. Happiness will always elude us if we are constantly looking somewhere else for it.
One thing I want us to keep in mind - God doesn't prohibit us from hoping for the future. In fact, he promises to meet our needs today AND in the future. He promises to be our comfort today AND in the future. Here is the issue - we sometimes miss him now because we are so busy looking for him in the future! As our passage points out, God's "plan" for us is for us to take great joy in him NOW - not in the future - but in the present. Yes, he has great things "coming" in our lives, but the things he has for us now are just as great - we just have to learn to appreciate them for the value they add to our lives today. Some people spend years and years laying up their retirement funds, planning and preparing for the day retirement comes, only to find themselves bored out of their minds because they hoped for some form of happiness in retirement which really isn't found in all the "careful planning". Yes, we need to plan - but we also need to live life today - in the fullness of his grace, love, and joy.
The promise to us is pretty awesome: His gifts ARE coming. If you didn't catch that - they ARE coming means they aren't "iffy". In fact, they are ALL our heart desires. Now, in case you don't know what that word "all" means in the Hebrew language, let me just give you a little Hebrew lesson. It means "ALL"! You don't need to give a big, long, complicated definition of that word - nor the word "are". Both mean exactly what they say - his gifts ARE (count on it to happen) coming; his plan is to bless us with ALL our heart desires. Now, lest we think this means every desire of our heart is "spot on", let me assure you there are probably some which are not exactly "spot on". When we learn to bring our heart desires to God, asking him to guide us into what is best for our lives, then counting on him to "figure it out" in his timing and his plan, we do much better on the "happiness scale" than we we are constantly trying to make all our heart desires come true on our own!
The important thing to remember is the reality of God's "carefulness" over our lives. He can be counted on to know what is best for us, when the timing is "spot on", and what we need to have prepared in our lives for us to be ready for the blessings we are about to receive. There is nothing more tragic than to receive great blessings, but be too preoccupied with the next blessing we are hoping for to actually recognize or appreciate the present one! Just sayin!