Sunday Dinner (And the Desires of Our Hearts)
Posted on February 18, 2014
I’ve never considered myself athletic. I was always more prone to ballet flats than cleats. Quite frankly, the fact that I will be running my third marathon this April would be laughable to some. And it’s still shocking, even to me, to look back and see how I got here, but I realize this:
It all started with a prayer.
It was just last spring when I was licking the wounds of another heartbreak–a necessary heartbreak–but painful, nonetheless. In a moment reminiscent of a scene out of Forest Gump, I woke up one morning and decided I needed to go for a jog to help control my thoughts. So, I began running. One mile turned to two and then two to three. Before I knew it I was training for my first half marathon that September. I told my mentor about my plans to enter the race and she asked who would be training with me. When I told her I was running alone, she encouraged me to find a running partner.
It never occurred to me that I should run with someone. Giving my hectic work schedule and the busyness of my close friends’ lives it didn’t seem plausible. Still, I gave it a shot.
I sent out feelers asking a few friends if they would be interested in running only to be met with reluctancy. I decided it wouldn’t be the worst thing to run by myself. After all, I had been learning to settle into my life alone. But on one particular night, in my new home; in a new city the weight of loneliness hit me. Maybe it was desperation or perhaps God was challenging me to deepen my reliance on Him by being vulnerable. Whatever the motivation, it led me to pray for a running partner. There was no formality to this prayer. There was just a quiet moment of admitting for the first time in a long time I felt very isolated and that if there was someone out there who would be willing to run with me, I’d like that very much. Amen.Truthfully, I didn’t expect God to answer that prayer and I almost forgot about it until I got a text message from an old friend.
Steven and I hadn’t spoken in more than a year, so it was surprising to hear from him. What happened next still leaves me in awe. Steven’s invitation to happy hour led me to re-connect with an old intern, Mai. Steven, Mai and I chatted, catching up in the way old friends do. I told them about my plans to run. Mai, enthusiastically expressed her desire to start running too. By the end of the conversation, just one week from my prayer, I had not one, but two new running partners.
This past Sunday, during our monthly Sunday Dinners I shared my prayer with Mai and Steven. I told them that I truly believe God answered my prayer by touching their hearts. They, selflessly, gave up their entire spring and summer to help me train for a marathon, but I also got so much more from them. Without their realizing, Mai and Steven helped me find pieces of myself that were buried under the rubble of burned down dreams. They taught me how to live by delighting in the beauty of each day.
In Psalm 37 King David talks about God knowing the desires of our hearts, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your hearts.” I’ve heard various interpretations of this verse, all of which I believe show many sides of God’s heart. But as I sat around the dinner table on Sunday surrounded by the love of Mai, Steven and an old friend, I realized that delighting in God is delighting in anything that is a manifestation of Him. It is delighting in the presence of people like Mai and Steven who come along and offer you a glimpse of hope. It is delighting in moments like Sunday dinner where everyone is gathered together for the purposes of love. Delighting in God is delighting in every way He chooses to display Himself. I believe that when we do this, we see that the desires of our hearts are being fulfilled everyday.
It’s silly, now that I think back on how I didn’t believe my prayer would get answered. I had gotten so accustomed to disappointment that I reflected the same expectation on to God. Now I know better. Each time I think about Mai and Steven and the summer we spent running through D.C. I’ll remember that even my smallest desires mean so much to a very loving and capable God.
Now it’s your turn: What desires have you seen God fulfill in your life?
Tell me in the comments section below.