The county fair is an event that many look forward to and is certainly one of the grand marks of summer. The fair stirs our senses, pulling up past nostalgic memories and encouraging the making of …
The county fair is an event that many look forward to and is certainly one of the grand marks of summer. The fair stirs our senses, pulling up past nostalgic memories and encouraging the making of new ones as we enter the excitement that seemed to pop up overnight almost in the middle of town.
The distinct aromas of funnel cakes mingle with the smells of straw and the animal barns. Bright lights of the carnival offer contrast to the more organic displays in the exhibition hall of handmade artwork, flower arrangements and craft projects. Feelings of expectation blend with the sense of hard work and the thrill of entertainment and a needed break from routines.
As our family entered the fairgrounds this year, my son noticed something that really bothered him. There was a food vendor area and a place where you could purchase a root-beer float for about as much as your car payment and all kinds of edible things ruined by deep-frying them, including, but not limited to, a deep-fried stick of butter. My arteries ache a little at the thought of it. On top of this structure was a sign that read “Your Heart’s Desire.”
Our family had a discussion about what our heart really does desire. Even though it smells and maybe even tastes good (I did not try the deep fried butter), we decided that those things are not really what our hearts desired and the dishonesty of that sign troubled my son.
Unfortunately, not all things are so clear to my heart. Often I do desire things that may not be the best for me. Last week before the fair, I was working on memorizing Psalm 37:4 — “Delight yourself in the Lord; and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Perhaps we tend to think “delighting in the Lord” means sitting in a solitary place singing hymns or Gregorian chants, not doing anything fun. But isn’t that a pretty low view of God and a pretty high view of myself? If there is a God, the God of the Bible seems to make the most sense based on the way the world works. If the Bible describes the real God, then he made me and knows me and my desires better than I do.
What if there’s something deeper than what I think I desire? Sometimes what I want most is to be left alone with a cool breeze and a good book. But why? I really enjoy a good story and I also enjoy learning. Guess what? If I delight myself in the Lord and trust him with my desires instead of trying to fill them in my own way and time and strength, then I cannot just read a great story but take part in one! The stories God is writing of your life and mine will be filled with more drama, humor, tension, antagonists, friendships, adventure and romance than you can imagine. Does that mean stop reading good books? Of course not. But I realized I may tend to rely on my own version of what I think I need to be entertained or to learn.
C.S. Lewis thought that we are like “an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Jesus doesn’t just sit remotely in heaven asking us to do difficult things we do not understand. He did not hold on to equality with God but emptied himself to come here as a man, suffered physically, emotionally and spiritually more than any of us could comprehend so that we could be reconciled to God the Father! He was raised to life by the power of God and ascended back to heaven and is waiting for us! He knows better than anyone what it means to delight in God and see the desires of your heart fulfilled. If we insist on being fulfilled in our own way and in our own timeline, we will be selling ourselves way short of what God wants to give us. Trust Jesus with your desires because he knows you better than you do!
(Seth Carter is the director of Campus Ventures in Powell.)