It’s been a while since we chatted
It’s the next day sorry I get nervous
Nervous that you wont speak
Or maybe I'm nervous that you will speak
But I wont know that its you
Or I wont believe that its you
Or I will believe that its me
Only me, so I hang up.
Ok hey its been a while
Its been a while
How are you
I mean how are us?
I mean really, really how are I?
But within the framework of how are us
Will you speak?
I been starting this off the wrong way
What I mean to say is
Thanks for everything
Thanks for pulling me out of darkness
Thanks for giving me identity
Thanks for revealing to me destiny
Thanks for getting me to college
Thanks for getting me through college
Thanks for getting me a job
And another job
And my dream job
And my other dream job
Thanks for not giving me that girl
Thanks for not giving me that girl
Thanks for not giving me all those girls
Maybe her though…
Thanks for the breath
Thanks for now
Thanks for today
Thanks for now
Its been a while since we chatted
An essential part of the human experience is desire. We all desire. As humans, we desire love, security, comfort, joy, all good things. Desire is so powerful and such an integrated part of our being, that when we don’t get what we desire, it often leads to anger and depression. Because unfulfilled desire leads to many problems, desire often becomes the enemy. For example, Buddhism teaches that desire is the source of our suffering, so in order to eliminate suffering, we must eliminate desire. The reality, however, is that the effort to eliminate desire is in and of itself a desire. Therefore, I am left to believe that desire is not a bad thing, rather it is a beautifully violent force that must be tamed. Desire is savage. Desire can cause the broke kid in the slums of India to become a successful business tycoon. In the same way when a desire is unmet, it may lead to horrendous actions. I would argue that numbing yourselves to your desires doesn’t free you, rather it kills your humanity. Desire is what fuels us as a species and desire is what leaves tomorrow looking better than it looked yesterday.
The past three years I have seen what I would reluctantly call a “formula” within scripture. God actually speaks about our desires quite a bit. The Church at times teaches us to stop wanting what we want, but to want what God wants. This is a very noble truth. However, a problem occurs when we teach it as law and neglect the relationship factor of the truth. Without an understanding of the relationship necessary for this truth, then we will grow to hate what we think God wants and we will feel shameful for what we do want. Thus, we end up in this indifferent state of our desires, never fully committing to any desire within us.
So what must be done? Scripture constantly points us to one simple solution: delight in God. Here are a few of my favorite “God will give you what you want” verses…
Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
John 14:13 “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
John 15:7 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
John 15:16 “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit…and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
John 16:23-24 “Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name…Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
These verses might surprise you. They surprise me. Quite honestly, as I write this, these verses make me feel deeply uncomfortable. I, and I think so many of us, have been programmed to believe God doesn’t really care about our desires or well being. Our idea of God is often that he only wants us to get to Heaven when we die and hopefully bring others with us. Now these promises carry a whole lot of responsibility. It takes a great deal of wisdom to navigate the desires of our heart. That is why it is so important to have an intimate relationship with God. If we aren’t spending time praying, meditating, abiding with God, then our desires will continue to be shaped by our selfishness. But when we are truly delighting in God, then our desires morph into the desires of our Creator. Then and only then, can He trust our intentions with the blessings that this life has to offer. It is all about Him and this life of surrender is what fulfills the deepest desires of the human heart.
So here’s what I see as the biblical formula:
Now to be clear, I really don’t believe in speaking about getting what you want from God in terms of formulas. The only reason I am speaking of this in this manner is because I believe it highly promotes the necessity of pursuing a relationship with Christ. This to me is the most virtuous lifestyle possible and I pray we all would encounter the love of God and allow it to transform us so much that we transform the world with the desires of our hearts.
It’s odd, and a bit sadistic, just how obsessed humanity is with the end of the world. From the ancient Mayans to modern day Christians, many cultures all share this belief that the planet and civilization will come to an end, one day.
Walk through any downtown city, chances are high you’ll see a cardboard sign with red marker stating that the “END IS NEAR”. Visit any American church, chances are high that you will hear a hyper-zealous pastor teaching how to interpret the end times. Chances are high that that same pastor is deeply certain this generation is the last. Just like every generation’s pastor said before him.
Now I don’t wish to bash the Church for anticipating the return of the LORD. Nor am I skeptical regarding the Bible’s promise of a “new earth”. My only desire is that we would collectively shift our focus to our actual job. I too would like to see Jesus return and set things straight. However, I am also aware of the assignment that Christians carry in this world today.
Look how Jesus redirected the focus of the disciples when they were focused on the end times;
“It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8)
This verse was the resurrected Christ’s response to the disciples’ inquiry of when the “Kingdom [would be] restored to Israel”. Jesus simply redirects their focus to living powerfully and bringing the kingdom now.
Quite frankly, the apocalyptic prophesies in scripture are far too complex and ambiguous for us to fully understand. We host seminars and write books describing who the antichrist will be. Because of our unbalanced obsession with the end times, we have an unhealthy relationship with the world today.
Unfortunately, as a culture, we American Christians are not the best at nutritional health, nor do we seem to care for environmental protection, or even social/ethical activism. This isn’t to make anyone feel guilt or shame, I only want to highlight this reality. Honestly, this is a topic for a whole nother blog post in the near future. The point I would like to make however is this: I wonder if the modern church has lacked so much in human, planetary, and technological progression because we hold this subconscious idea that the world must get worse before Jesus comes back.
If a deep theological conviction we all share, and this is all monotheistic faiths, is that a God-imposed end of the world is coming, then how could we expect to invest our time and energy in the betterment and progression of the world? I have heard friends in the midst of discussions allude to “well the world’s ending any ways so it doesn’t even matter” and they laugh problems off. This is proof to me, that many of us have allowed this apocalyptic belief to highjack our God given abilities to create and advance the human race.
I will repeat the verse for clarification, let's remember where Jesus directed our focus:
“It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…”
So again, let’s ask the Father to send his Holy Spirit so that we will receive the power to change the world and not contribute to its destruction.