3 Beautiful Ways God Transformed My Desire
- Dena Johnson Martin Dena's Devos
- 2015 27 Mar
Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever (Psalm 73:25-26 NLT).
Each morning as I drive to work, I spend the twenty minute commute talking with God. It’s a great time of silence and solitude, a time where I can meet the Father, dedicate my day to him, and soak in his presence.
One morning last week, I surprised myself. As I poured out my heart to God, I voiced something to him that I never thought would happen.
“Lord,” I began, “there is truly nothing on this earth that compares to you. My greatest desire is to walk daily in your presence.”
The words were truly from my heart, as sincere as I could possibly be. They came from somewhere deep inside of me, perhaps a place that I didn’t even know existed.
Why did it surprise me?
About five years ago, my life had fallen apart. I had lost my ministry, my marriage. I had suffered the indescribable pain of adultery. I was angry with God, wondering why I had even given my life to serve him. I cried out with the Psalmist:
Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain (Psalm 73:13-14 NLT).
I began to run from God, convinced that I could live this life on my own terms. After all, his way didn’t work out so well for me. Eventually, however, through the Father’s relentless pursuit of me, I surrendered. I came to understand that I am his at the very core of my being. Even though I wanted to run, there was nowhere I could hide. He had a firm grip on my life, and I was willing to give his way another try.
But, I was still hurting. My future was uncertain. I longed to love and be loved.
I remember so clearly the conversation I had with God one afternoon, the day that I shared my deepest pain with him. I took off running, knowing that God always met me as my feet pounded the pavement. The tears began to stream down my face as I poured out my heart to him.
“God, I want to want you more than anything else,” I cried out from the depths of my pain. “But, if I’m honest, I want a husband more than I want you.”
In that moment, as the words escaped my mouth, I felt the presence of my Savior. I heard the sweet whisper of his Spirit as he told me that it was all right, that he understood. Somehow, in that moment, I knew that he had a plan. Somehow, I knew that he had everything under control, that he understood that my heart’s greatest desire was for a man rather than for him.
What I didn’t know was the journey that was beginning, a journey to change my heart’s greatest desire. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how he would take my heart from a place of pain, of longing to love and be loved, to a place of complete contentment in him.
The journey has been long and difficult. It has been filled with highs and lows. It has been filled with more heartache and pain than I care to remember. And, it has been filled with more joy and blessings than I could ever begin to recall.
How did I make the journey? How did my desires become so completely transformed?
Surrender. The journey began with a moment of surrender, a moment when I told him that I didn’t want this journey but I would take it, a moment when I asked him to do an amazing work in me so he could do an amazing work through me. I had no idea what the journey would entail, but I simply knew that I was willing to take a chance on him again.
There have been other moments of surrender as well. I remember one Easter weekend about two years ago. As I drove home from church, something washed over me. I suddenly began to come face-to-face with the ugly reality of my heart, to become aware of the pride and selfish ambitions that ruled my actions. I spent the evening sobbing over my sins, surrendering everything to my Savior.
It was immediately following those moments of surrender that I began to see and experience God moving in a mighty way. I have never been the same.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life (Psalm 139:23-24 NLT).
Focus. After surrendering to this most unwelcome journey, God began the process of healing my heart. As I allowed him access to the broken pieces, I found myself hungering for more of him and his word. I began to crave the Word of God, reading huge chunks at a time.
I also found ways to focus on him throughout my day. Whether it was listening to sermons while I ran or listening to praise music in my car, my thoughts were constantly focused on him. Slowly, I began to see him change my heart, change my desires. I began to sense the beautiful future he was preparing for me. I began to trust him to lead me into it. I began to see the purpose in the pain I had suffered.
I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us (Philippians 3:13b-14 NLT).
Delight. As my focus changed from the hurts of the past to the beauty of my future, I began to find delight in my Savior. I began to see him use me to help others walking the same difficult path I had walked, and I was overwhelmed that he would consider me a worthy vessel. The tears flowed freely as doors of ministry began to open. Constantly humbled and amazed at his goodness, I knew that I was delighting in nothing more than my Savior himself.
Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires… Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act (Psalm 37:4, 7 NLT).
I don’t know if God is your greatest desire. I don’t know if you can say with the psalmist that there is nothing on earth that compares to him. But, I do know that God can take you to that place. Surrender. Focus. Delight. He will change your desires in amazing ways.
And you will find a place of incomparable beauty and peace.
Dena Johnson is a busy single mom of three kids who loves God passionately. She delights in taking the everyday events of life, finding God in them, and impressing them on her children as they sit at home or walk along the way (Deuteronomy 6:7). Her greatest desire is to be a channel of God’s comfort and encouragement. You can read more of Dena’s experiences with her Great I AM on her blog Dena's Devos.
Publication date: March 27, 2015