God gives us the desires of our hearts

I like to eat, and there were several days between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day that my tummy got tight as a tick, almost to the point of misery. It should be noted that this condition is not exclusive to the holidays.

Although it wasn't a holiday meal, I know of one young person who got sick, probably because he ate so much at one meal. While he obviously didn't feel so well right before the relief came, the incident did give me the idea for this article.

The Bible says that God gives us the desires of our heart (Psalm 20:4), but the reason behind the desire often determines the end result. That is, there's nothing inherently wrong with eating (Romans 14:16-18; 1 Timothy 4:1-5), but too much of any good thing can be bad and, sometimes, God gives us the desires of our heart to a sickening point.

God does this as a reminder of who he is and that he loves us enough to encourage us to stay on the right path by disciplining us (Hebrews 12:7-11). In the desert, the Israelites forgot that God had rescued them from slavery. All they remembered were the good things they enjoyed. So, he granted their desires until they were sick of them (Exodus 16:1-18; Numbers 11:4-6, 18-23, 31-34; Psalm 106:13-15).

Another reason God allows us to have the desires of our heart until they sicken us is so that we'll realize our love for him. Remember, he proves his love for us by promptly, but carefully disciplining us (Proverbs 13:24 NKJV and NIV). This is shown in what is often called the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). No matter how much the father wanted to protect his son from ruin, he had to let him feel ruined to realize the hope he had in being even a mere slave in his father's house. (Psalm 84:10, 11).

It's only when we set our delights in the Lord that he gives us the desires of our heart moderately and abundantly so we can enjoy life without becoming sickened (Psalm 37:4; Isaiah 26:8). Some moderation on our part (self-control under the Holy Spirit's guidance) also is necessary for the ultimate enjoyment.

The kid that got sick came right back to the table exclaiming, "Now, I'm ready for dessert!" His responsible party at that dinner remembered that there'd be a long car ride home and knew they didn't want their car messed up. After some "discussion," the child also learned from his past and tries to save some room for dessert. I don't remember ever getting sick by overeating, but I often go without dessert because I enjoy the meal itself enough. Some of us learn by our own experiences, some learn by watching others, which is the better way (1 Corinthians 10:1-11).

God loves you and wants to give you the best in this life and the life to come (John 10:10; Jeremiah 29:11). If your desires are the same as his, all will be well (Romans 8:28).

Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan. Contact him at lmlaur@plateautel.net

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