Oct. 25, 2011
Recently I heard a young man share his story of battling his unwanted same-sex attractions. Though Ben’s dad loved him very much, he felt like he was everyone else’s dad and then his dad. He also didn’t connect with the masculine that his dad represented. He ended up with longings for deep connection with males. What helped him turn the corner was when he found people with whom he could be completely honest about his shameful desires and feelings, who also helped him develop his relationship with God.
He shared that he slowly realized his heart was looking for three things in other men. First, he longed for someone who was unquestionably a “Capital M-A-N” who made that intangible connection with him that his father didn’t make, leaving him with a father-shaped hole in his soul. And he realized that he was also looking for a rescuer, to pull him out of his own wretchedness. And finally, he wanted to be comforted by someone, he said, “who’s there when I come back down, when I’m lost, when I’m troubled; I would fantasize about a guy who could just say the right things, do the right things, and comfort me any time I needed it.”
Optimally, he told us, it would really great if he could find someone who would be all three of those things at one time, wrapped up in one person. That would be the “Mr. Right” he longed to find and be loved by.
The major “lightbulb moment” of his journey came when he realized that what he longed for was a Father, a Savior, and a Comforter. . . and that perfectly describes who God is—three in one, Father, Son and Spirit. And because he had trusted in Christ at an early age, that very God was already indwelling him! He realized that the triune God was everything his heart was longing for but he had been too blind to see. God, in giving Himself to His beloved son, was ready to meet Ben’s heart’s needs and longings, but would not force Himself on him. When Ben opened his heart to receive the Fathering, the Saving, and the Comforting of the God who loved him, everything shifted inside.
God connected some dots for me when hours later, our pastor observed that Psalm 37:4 is one of the first Bible verses that people memorize. . . and one of the most misunderstood.
Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Sounds like a magic formula, right? Delight yourself in the Lord, and you get what you want? Just a religious-sounding way of rubbing the genie’s magic lamp to get your wishes granted? But that’s not what it means.
When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us Himself, and He is what our hearts desire. Uncover all the surface, temporary things we think we want, and underneath are the true desires of our heart: to be loved, to be known, to be valued, to be safe, to matter.
And as Ben showed us, to be fathered, to be rescued, to be comforted.
Yes, we want all those things—and our marvelous God delights to give them to us as He gives us Himself.
He is so good!
This blog post originally appeared at blogs.bible.org/tapestry/sue_bohlin/its_not_rubbing_the_genies_magic_lamp