Why I Needed to Unlearn My Favourite Bible Verse

Susan Narjala   |   November 10, 2020 


Back in 2001, while I chugged through heavy coursework at graduate school, I had one thing on my mind. I would like to tell you that it was assignments or making good grades because, after all, I had crossed continents and travelled across the seas to America for the first time in my life to go to university. But, here’s my red-faced confession: The one thing on my mind was… wait for it… finding myself a husband.

Yeah, feel free to judge me. No, really, go ahead - I’m judging myself. (Don’t worry, Millennial and Gen Z folk, I will go back to being “kind to myself” and giving myself “inner validation” shortly).

I’d like to qualify my statement about my single-minded aim of finding myself my man. I wanted a godly man, a man I could look up to faith-wise. And then I had a few more specifications: you know, the classic “must have a sense of humour” criterion. And, oh, also the very “original” requirement of “someone with whom I can have a deep conversation and yet share a comfortable silence.” I also secretly told God that I’d want him to be cute – not extravagantly good-looking or anything. But since, at that point, I had a thing for Paul Rudd (after watching Clueless… yes, I am hopelessly dating myself here), I may or may not have been asking God for an Indian version of my celebrity crush.

And being a good Christian girl, I prayed for my future husband while “claiming” Scripture. My all-time, hands-down, ride-or-die favourite verse at the time became Psalm 37:4 – “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

That particular verse, to my 20-something-year-old mind, seemed like a win-win. I could delight myself in the Lord – no problemo. And I had already told Him the desires of my heart. So there was no question that my Paul Rudd was on his way to me imminently.

Honestly, the verse seemed almost transactional to me. It appeared that if I delighted myself in God, He would give me my heart’s desires – desires that were very distinct, completely separate, from God Himself.

But, friends, life is not a fairy-tale based on a happy-seeming Bible verse. God took me through a heart-break and through many tears and many insecurities and questions to show me what that verse truly meant.

He showed me that when I delight myself in the Lord, He Himself will become my heart’s greatest desire – a desire that outshines and overtakes all else.

He showed me that delighting myself in the Lord is not just about checking a quick quiet time off my to-do’s and then getting on with my day where everything else seemed more exciting and enjoyable. Delighting in God was about lavishing in His love till everything else faded by comparison.

So, dear sisters, that’s the reason I had to unlearn my favourite Bible verse.

And I had to learn and discover and live for myself a much deeper, richer meaning of those words.

Where I so delight in God that I am fully and completely satisfied in Him – and everything else, including the man of my dreams, would be the extra to my main course (why do food analogies always seem to pop up in my mind more frequently than any other illustrations??).

Close to 20 years later, I can say that God didn’t give me exactly what I thought I wanted in a husband. He did better. He gave me exactly what He knew I needed.

And more than that, He showed me that my greatest need, my ultimate satisfaction, and my deepest desire were found in one place – in Christ alone.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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