James Smith, New Park Street Church, London, 1849
"Lord, my every desire is known to You; my sighing is not hidden from You!" Psalm 38:9
I find much of my of true religion, consists in desires. I often examine myself lest I should rest short of the mark; and it is often the case that all I can find—is a desire.
I desire to prefer Jesus to all things else—but I cannot actually do so at all times—yet still I desire.
I desire to love Jesus with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, to love him so as I never loved anything beside—but often it is only the desire.
I desire to prize and enjoy Jesus—not only to use him as a shelter from the storm, a covert from the wind, and a hiding place from my foes; but to find him the banquet of my soul, my choice food, my treasure, all things in one—but often I do but desire, for what I want to do—I am not able to do.
I desire to Honor, Glorify, and Praise him, in all and everything I do—but often I find I do some things which dishonor him, and other things without even thinking of his glory—yet still I desire.
I desire to be more and more separated and dead to the world, and increasingly alive to the things of God. But all I find is the desire, for what I want to do—I am not able to do.
Shall I then despond because this is the case? No! Let me turn to the book of God for information; here I find Nehemiah speaking of himself, and others of the spiritual Israel, and he says, "O Lord I beseech you, let now your ear be attentive to the prayer of your servants, who desire to fear your name," Nehemiah 1:11. It seems he could not say we DO fear—but we DESIRE to fear your name.
"The desire of the humble is heard by the Lord," Psalm 10:17.
"Their desires shall be fulfilled by the Lord," Psalm 145:19.
He will give them their hearts desire, and not withhold the request of their lips.
It is a gracious token—if the Lord has given us good desires; and an evidence that we possess a divine nature. Desires cannot be forced—they spring from the heart, and manifest the character of the heart from which they proceed. If the desires are earthly, carnal and sensual—so is the nature in which they originate. If the desires are spiritual holy and heavenly—so is the nature from which they spring.
Those desires which spring from a new nature—are habitual, not merely produced by a sermon, affliction, or any external thing—but flowing from the fountain of nature, they continue and abide. They flow, and will flow, until they are satisfied by the possession of the blessings desired.
The Holy Spirit is the author of them;
they proceed from the hidden recesses of the heart;
to Jesus they go forth;
on spiritual and heavenly things they fix; and
until supplied, they can never be quenched.
Reader, what is the character of the prevailing desires of your mind? What are you longing for and seeking to possess? Is it to know Christ, to be conformed to him, to be filled with his love, and to be made a lasting monument of his grace? If so, your desires shall never be satisfied until you wake up in our Lord's likeness, and enter into the possession of our Lord's glory!
But while thus desiring, and seeking, and waiting, we are encouraged by our Lord, who satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. It is for us to pray without ceasing, expect without doubting, wait without murmuring—and we shall eventually be filled to our perfect satisfaction. God is faithful who never begets a spiritual desire in any soul, only to disappoint it—but who always fills the hungry with good things, though the rich may be sent away empty.
Bless God, then, for your holy desires; follow on until you possess the blessing; and, though hope deferred, may make the heart sick, yet when the desire comes—it will be a tree of life. It may appear to tarry—but it will come, for "the desire of the righteous shall be granted!" The greatest saints were once no more than humble desirers; and those who have the brightest evidences now, had once no evidence more than a desire; they sought more, and they obtained; and we shall know, if we follow on to know the Lord, for his goings forth are prepared as the morning, and he will come unto us as the former and latter rain upon the earth.
"Lord, you know all things; You know that I love You!" John 21:17. At times, the Lord Jesus seems to leave me, to hide himself from me, and refuses to manifest himself to me. O how dissatisfied I am, yet not dissatisfied enough. How miserable I feel, yet not miserable enough. How restless I am, and yet not sufficiently restless. I miss my friend, my joy, my life, my boast, my supporter, my salvation, my object, my subject, my light, my peace, my home, my rest, my love, my sun, my food, my drink, my comfort, my satisfaction, my portion, my prospect, my husband, my Lord, my way, my king, my brother, my Alpha, Omega, my first, last, all in all.
How then, can I be happy? I am nothing, I have nothing, I can do nothing! It is Jesus who gives me entity, possessions, and ability; without him I had better never been born; if I may not enjoy him--I had better never have known the way of righteousness; if I may not live in fellowship with him--it would have been well for me never to have tasted the bliss his presence, words, and smiles impart. I now see, feel, and realize what Jesus is to me; it is well at times to miss him, it will I hope (Lord grant that it may) make me prize him more when I again feel his presence and enjoy his love.
I do love to hear of him, to read about him, and to have my thoughts filled with him--although I cannot enjoy him. I am sure I love my Savior, for I am a poor repining, unhappy, heartless creature without him! None can fill his place, none can be accepted as a substitute in his room; nothing can possibly make up for the loss of his presence. Surely he will return shortly, he cannot tarry long; but my soul cries, O Lord, how long?
O Holy Spirit, lead my mind, affections, and desires more and more out after him, to him, and upon him; make intercession in me to him with groanings which cannot be uttered! O never let me rest, be satisfied, or quiet--without the conscious enjoyment of his presence, salvation, and love!
O save me from coldness, lukewarmness, or carelessness; rather let me be tenfold more miserable--than sink into spiritual lethargy and indifference!
O Holy Father visit me! O precious Lord Jesus--come, and make your abode with me; consecrate my heart, my life, my all to your honor, praise, and glory! I am yours, save me, use me, and bless me for your mercy's sake!