From Ask Pastor John on desiringgod.org
How can I long to be married without obsessing about it?
I suppose the dynamics of that question and its answer relate not just to marriage, but to almost any strong desire that you have, especially a desire relating to people.
So my mind broadens out from the marriage issue to ask, “Why do we obsess about anything? Why do we have overweening preoccupations with anything?”
The reason is because God and his Son don’t have the place in our hearts that they should have. The human heart is a God-shaped vacuum—Pascal said that—and it’s designed for God to fill. And if we have small views of God, and inadequate perceptions of his greatness and his glory and his love for us and his sufficiency for us, then there will be big cavernous places in our souls. And they will be churning out these desires that are just huge and controlling, whether it’s a spouse or sexual things or money or praise of man or revenge.
A lot of people are just consumed. They can’t seem to shake it. And I think the answer there is not so much, “Fight, fight, fight! Stop doing that! Stop doing that!” but rather, “Devote yourself to knowing and loving God. Immerse yourself in the Word.”
So when it comes to desiring a spouse you admit, “Of course, I’d like to be married. And Lord, would you work that? Would you do that?” And then you rest in him. Delight yourself in the Lord. Get all of your desires focused on him, and then those desires will be managed in such a way that in due season God will satisfy them. That’s what we’re doing for our Fighter Verse this week. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
We were talking about that verse at our staff meeting the other day, in relation to marriage. And I forget who said it, but someone said that the problem is that we treat “Delight yourself in the Lord” like a tool. Like, “OK, I’ve done that. Why am I not married yet?” As though “Delight yourself in the Lord” is a quick little turn of the key, and you get what you want.
It isn’t like that. Delighting yourself in the Lord is an all-consuming, day-by-day quest to bring all of our desires into that one great desire, so that he does satisfy.
So you walk into a group of people, and your mindset should be, “Lord, I’m just going to be there for others, like you’ve been there for me. I’m not going to look at every person as a candidate for doing for me what my cavernous needs require right now. You’ve met those needs. I’m going to be there for others. And you do what you want. I’ll trust you.”
So the answer is to get our orientation off of our needs and onto the needs of others, and that’s only possible if God fills up that vacuum. Which means we should really devote ourselves to knowing him and being content in him.
Audio & video here.