“Whom have in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” ~Psalm 73:25-26
On Thursday night I went to a Bible study on campus given by a group sponsored by the church I’ve been visiting. (Man, try to unpack all of those prepositional phrases!) It was really great: people were friendly, the music was good, and the message was even better. The speaker is doing a series on relationships, which seems to be a favorite topic directed at singles. Can’t imagine why. Anyway, Thursday night’s message was about marriage, and even though a lot of what was said wasn’t really new to me, it was a very timely reminder. One of the points that really struck me most was something he said towards the end of the message. He was talking about how we often think that once we’re married, we’ll be complete or perfectly happy and everything will be wonderful, but that’s not true. He said that if you’re unsatisfied with life before you’re married, you’ll be unsatisfied with life after you’re married. And then he said, “Marriage has a purpose beyond pleasing you and supplying you with a relationship.” He quoted author David Powlison as saying, “Don’t expect marriage to do what only Jesus can do.” Ouch. He left us with a thought: how many people put their hope and joy in marriage and not in God? How many, indeed? No wonder the divorce rate is so high.
So many people put pressure on other people to satisfy them in ways only God can, and I know that I have a tendency to do that as well. No matter how many times I tell myself that I don’t need other people, specifically a husband, to make me happy, my actions often don’t match up with what my head knows to be true. But last night when I was praying, this verse kept going through my mind. Do I desire God above all else, besides all else? And if I don’t, what am I substituting that desire for? Certainly I have experienced firsthand the Lord’s care for me when I have felt as though I couldn’t even go on another day, and His grace has been more than evident in my life. So why do I insist on playing the harlot and giving my affections to everything and everyone but Him? And how do I stop doing that? I suppose the first step is just allowing the words of this Psalm to truly soak in, and to begin the process of taking captive every thought and making it obedient to Christ. No small task, but the payoff is invaluable.