I reach once again for the letters in the bottom drawers of my nightstand. It’s been three weeks since my husband left for army training, and, with a week left, it hasn’t gotten any easier. He is without any sort of modern communication – phone calls, text messages, e-mails; my only connection to him is the letters we write back and forth. Though merely words on paper, they make me feel close to him, like he is sitting and talking next to me.
My hand stops halfway on its journey to find me comfort as it brushes the spine of my Bible sitting on the top shelf. I stop, thinking about the unconscious decision I am making. I’m sitting in bed, my heart lonely and hurting, and my first instinct is to turn to dead pieces of paper written by a loving but imperfect man. In doing so, I bypass the living words written thousands of years before by a God who has pursued me since before I was born.
My arm hangs off my bed as I contemplate my heart’s desires. My head knows that no letter written on dirty notebook paper can ever satisfy me, but my heart repeatedly turns to the words that are easy to read and momentarily gratifying. They’re beautiful letters, and I know his loving words are heartfelt. Yet they cannot grant me deep peace and unwavering hope. So why do I turn to them over and over again?
I begin to pray. I often read the Psalms and wish I had the heart of David, so I pray that God would turn my heart to David’s desires, to the desires of God. I pray that I would be able to say in spirit and truth Psalm 42:1-2: “As the deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God.” But my prayer sounds more like this:
Jesus, as a wife longs for the return of her husband, may I, as a part of your bride the church, long for your coming. Fill my heart with a desire to know you and to be near you. Let me be satisfied by nothing else but your presence and your Word. Increase my thirst for you, so that I never want to leave your side and I’m always looking forward to my quiet time with you. More than I want my husband with me, I want you, Jesus.
I have learned that God knows our hearts and emotions are sinful; He knows that though we have surrendered our life to Him, our fleshly hearts are not always going to follow in line with that decision. I used to respond with self-condemnation over my rebellious sentiments, but now I bring them to the foot of the cross. There I am reminded that Jesus paid for all of my sins, even my emotional sin. I again offer Jesus my heart, and ask Him to keep molding it until it no longer believes the lies of this world but clings to the truth of God’s love.
What emotional lies is your heart telling you? Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” What perfect satisfaction are you trading for the sake of earthly shadows of pleasure? Don’t be overcome by the failings of your heart, pray Psalm 42:1-2 and other Scriptures, that God would draw your heart back to Him. You can pray with confidence, because God has promised in Ezekiel 36:26, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Let us long for the day when we stand in the glory of Christ with the perfect bodies and hearts that He has bought for us with His blood, when we can no longer be tempted by the empty diversions of this earth but are content to be in the presence of our King.