What the Heart Needs Most

As I walk around the church parking lot today, I reflect on all the things I’ve been telling my husband I need and want in my life. These conversations are ridiculous. I’m such a brat! It gets so bad that sometimes I lament the fact that there’s no good fine dining in this town or great live music. I get in these “if only” kinds of conversations: If only we lived in a big city. If only we owned this house. If only this happened, if only that happened. . .

I’m so focused on what I need all the time. As you know, I’m always asking my heart what it’s missing because I’m a walking existential crisis. I’ve already confessed this problem to you, so bear with me.

I decide to ask God to show me what the heart needs most of all. I was inspired to ask such a question because I was reading Hannah Whitall Smith again this morning, and I love how she asks God to reveal to her the “secret” of a happy life. She wanted happiness! She was tired of miserable Christians who walked around in perpetual angst (oh, she would have been so annoyed with me). She wrote a whole book on God’s answer to her question about happiness called The Christian Secret of a Happy Life.

But back to my question to God. I’m tired of perpetual angst (even if it is part of the poetic sensibility, the divine madness of the artist, and the dreary lot of the writer). I’m tired of struggling so much for peace in my heart. I’m tired of not even knowing the answer to a question two different friends asked me this week. They looked at me with such love in their eyes and said, “Heather, what do you really want?”

What do I really want, God?

As I’m rounding the corner, I imagine God answering me. I think of this truth:

I think of how David begs God in Psalm 51:12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” He doesn’t ask for more friends, more wealth, more wisdom, a different city, live music, fine dining, or more fruitfulness. He asks God to restore the joy of salvation to him. What the heart needs most is the joy of our salvation!

I think about this as I walk, and the fog clears inside of me. Everything I most desperately want, I already have: the righteousness of Christ, the immediate and unmediated access to God, and the knowing and being known by a Savior. Yes, forgiveness of sin that separates me from God–this is what I most desperately need. And because I have it already, I ask God to restore the truth of it to me, the pure and raw joy of it.

When I lose my focus and wonder what I’m missing, I’m going to think about this summer morning walk and how I remembered the joy of my salvation. It was a great little walk with God.

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