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God’s Special Gift

By Shelley L Houston

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart…Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” (Psalm 37:4&7a)

I’m always suspect of others, but especially myself, when we quote this scripture to “Delight yourself in the Lord…” I’m suspicious that my primary desire is to have my own way, and delighting in God is only a means to this end. Moreover, what does it mean, to ‘delight’ in God? How do you do that? I’m not really sure; but undoubtedly, my motivation for wanting to obey this admonishment is wrapped up in some subconscious scheme to make God give me what I want.

Then I think, what’s so wrong with wanting good things? Why is it so bad to want my special needs child obtain help? For her to achieve basic goals of life? Of course, many of my prayer petitions are for more base and selfish wants. However, I do desire good things at times, and it is true that God grants me many of my requests, but I wonder if I would know the true desires of my heart if I had them.

Three verses after the admonition and promise of verse four, God gives us a clue as how to accomplish the mysterious state of delighting in Him, a state for which the desires are promised. He says to be still…and wait for Him.

What! Who can be still in these days filled with crisis? When you have a child with special needs how do you wait when every cell of your being screams DO SOMETHING!

“I don’t want to wait around with my thumbs in my belt loops while the world circles the drain,” I point out to God. “Just tell me, how do I wait?” Perhaps a look at a child will help us see a perfect place of peace where we find the desires of our hearts.

When my daughter wore pigtails, one of the worst fates that befell her was when I asked her to sit quietly while I read to her. She valiantly tried to obey but her little knees bounced in her chair with anticipation of running around the room once again. She sat on her hands to keep them from flying to her shirt button or lock of hair to worry them between her fingers. (Maybe a little ADHD?) Nevertheless, with her seated I would grab my chance and try to read her a story or instruct her in a beneficial way—but inwardly, she wiggled in her own universe.

Many years later, testing revealed she had an auditory disorder. There is nothing wrong with her actual hearing, however, she can assimilate and process only a few ideas at a time. Therefore, for example, if I spouted a list of to-dos for the day, she literally would not hear every third task. Imagine the frustration this caused between us!

The exception to this rule was if she was also involved in something tactile; that increased her ability to hear. So, my asking her to “sit still” to listen, was totally counterproductive. Being so complicated in needs, it is no wonder I didn’t figure out her style of learning until later in life. However, ‘accidentally,’ I found a way to be heard when she was young.

For twenty-five dollars, I purchased an old 60’s living room chair at a second hand shop and lugged it home. It had low, wide arms—maybe eighteen inches of sitting space. I sat one of her older brothers on each arm and my daughter in my lap. Quiet washed over her as she leaned back on my chest for her cushion. She would place her hand on mine as I pointed to each line of print. Her gaze never left the book, and as I turned the page, I often kissed the top of her head. I didn’t know I was providing the tactile contact she needed to focus, I only knew she heard me. However, God knew what she needed and provided without me even knowing there was a problem.

God wants to read to me, but I often skip my morning devotions because I’m so valuable in God’s kingdom. At least, I can’t think of any other reason I would refuse to meet with him. I must think that whatever else I am doing is more important. I’ve heard it said that, ultimately, each one of us does exactly what we want to do. So, why would I choose to miss hearing God?

Maybe meeting with God is something I tend to do like brushing my teeth morning and evening—to avoid tooth decay and gum disease. Maybe I “seek God” by religiously “doing my devotional” in my reading chair instead of reclining in God’s lap.

What about you? Can you quiet your anxiously flailing limbs long enough to lean into the warmth of his bosom? Can you imagine your hand resting on His as He runs His finger along each line that you read, maybe stopping when the passage especially expresses His love for you. Would he kiss the top of your head as He pauses to turn your mind to the next idea? Hmm. Maybe if we abandon that insatiable desire to please ourselves a moment and feel the flood of joy in simply experiencing Him…

Now, what is your heart’s greatest desire? Maybe you thought you wanted a new classroom program for your child, or a great job with benefits and lots of time off, or even a miracle healing. I don’t think so, though.

Once we’ve tasted the sweet assurance of His love we remember that we can trust Him with everything from the injustices of this world to the saddest little dysfunction of our life. He asks us to be still and wait for Him to meet our children’s needs and our own, in His timing. When we can quiet our ever rambling mind, honestly unload our anxieties, silence our whining lips and rest in His arms, then we receive our true heart’s desire—we receive Him.

©2009 Shelley L. Houston. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bio:
Shelley L. Houston is a freelance writer and speaker who lives in Eugene, Oregon. After many years of writing articles, devotionals and various other writing projects, Shelley has completed the first in a series of fiction books. A sample of her writing and contact information are on her web site: shelleyLhouston.com