Psalm 20, Isaiah 26:1–9, and 2 Corinthians 4:16–18
EMANUEL TRANSFORMS OUR HEARTS’ DESIRES
I couldn’t choose between the Bible readings for today. It was as if someone had picked them out for me. So I decided to write something about all of them.
The Psalmist says, “May God grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans.” Now that’s what I like to hear. Then Isaiah says, “My soul yearns for you in the night, my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.” Now I’m beginning to think, wait a minute, are you saying my heart’s desire and all my plans should be for God and not for myself? Then Paul joins the conversation: “We look at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.” Now that’s just not fair. All of my dreams that I’ll get what I want deflate. Unless … unless I allow God, Emanuel, the God who is among us, to transform my heart so that it desires God and only God.
That is a tall order, because I have a very nice life. Of course, that life is nice because most of the temporary, earthly parts of it are well right now: my loved ones, my job, my home, my health. I am reminded almost every day, however, that I am promised none of these things, and I cannot see the only thing that is promised. But what is promised is eternal.
Whoever put together the Bible readings did not think of me, but they knew human nature, so they knew these passages should be read together. May Emanuel transform our hearts.
–James Riley Strange