Have you ever seen an iceberg? Their vastness is a sight to behold—some towering in size, others sculpted beautifully. What makes icebergs so peculiar is that on average, only 10%t of an iceberg is seen at surface level. This leaves 90% of the iceberg beneath the water, unseen. At best, you and I can see only the tip of an iceberg. An expert, however, can fully examine an iceberg, not only in part, but in whole, understanding both the currents and climates that surround and impact it.
The Heart Is Like an Iceberg
In a lot of ways, our hearts are like icebergs—there’s a lot deep beneath the surface that can’t be easily observed. And as believers, we know the expert—the One who is able to fully examine and properly assess our hearts not simply in part, but in whole (1 Cor. 2:11). The One who knows the currents and climate (anxieties, fears, hopes) that shape and impact the desires that flow out (Jer. 17:9, Rom. 8:27, Heb. 4:12). God sees beyond the tip of the iceberg—He sees us wholeheartedly (Matt. 7:9–11).
With this view in mind, let’s sail through a familiar passage of Scripture, Psalm 37:3–4.
Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Like me, you may have read these verses and wondered, “If God gives the desires of the heart, why don’t I have ______?” But what does Scripture say about the kind of heart that receives that which it desires? Let's take a closer look at this Psalm to understand God’s answer to this question.
A Heart That Trusts
Every person trusts in something (Matt. 6:21, Ps. 20:7). But in Psalm 37:3, David begins by exhorting you and me not only to trust, but to trust in the Lord and do good. Thus, the question is not are we trusting, but rather who or what are we trusting in? If you or I want to know what we really trust in, we should take careful note of how we respond to the constant wave of unmet desires and expectations in our lives. There will always be sadness and grief that accompany lost or unmet desires (Rom. 12:15–16); however, when facing disappointment, do we still have hope (Rom. 12:12), or do we feel insufficient and paralyzed? If we find the latter to be true, it’s possible that we’re trusting more in the gift than the Giver (Matt. 6:21). You and I are only able to do good when we trust the One who is good (Psalm 37:3).
A Heart That Dwells
God has always sought to dwell with mankind, but do we desire to dwell with God? The word dwell that is used in Psalm 37:3 can also mean abide. We are called not simply to dwell in the land, but to abide with the Creator and feed upon His provision—His faithfulness. The faithfulness of God is His proven character, and as His followers, you and I are to feed on the character of God by remembering who we know Him to be. Here are just a few characteristic that we know to be true about Him:
- God is good: He Himself is good and withholds nothing good from those who love Him (Ps. 84:11).
- God is all-knowing: He is both outside and inside of time, seeing our stories from beginning to end (Isa. 57:15, Ps. 102:12, Ps. 31:15).
- God is a sufficient provider: He is not only the provider for our needs, but He Himself is also the very provision of our needs (John 6:35, John 7:37–39).
What does it look like for you to dwell—to feed upon God’s faithfulness––in the land He has you in? The Psalmist exhorts us to dwell in the land because we are so prone to wander during seasons of hardship and suffering. How often do we find ourselves fantasizing and daydreaming about how good life would be if only we were in a different role or season of life? Remembering God’s character in moments of discontentment will give us steadfast hope in the present (James 1:3).
A Heart That Delights
The Psalmist tells us that if we are truly delighting in the Lord and dwelling in His land, the desires of our hearts are sure to follow (Ps. 37: 4). But how do we know this is true for us today? Can you and I really trust that we will receive the desires of our hearts? The answer is yes—always (John 15: 7–10).
When God becomes the true object of our delight, the deepest desire and longing of our hearts becomes not merely something but someone—God Himself (Matt. 7:7–9). His will and His desires become what we desire above everything else (Ps. 73:25–26). You and I can be sure that our God is always committed to fulfilling the desires that are from Him and through Him for the purposes of ultimately pointing us back to Him.
God doesn’t just see the tip of the iceberg—our temporal desires at the surface. He sees wholeheartedly and wants to fill us with that which is deeply satisfying—Himself— the true living and eternal water our hearts are in desperate need of (John 15:7–8, Jn. 14:13).