Lord, all my desire is before you; and my groaning is not hid from you.
We would not pamper weakness till we seem to offer a premium to unbelief; but yet we would feed the feeble in the king's meadows till they become strong in the Lord. If great efforts are put forth to build or endow a hospital, you do not say, "Sickness is a desirable thing, for all this money is spent upon comforting and helping those who feel it." Your feelings are quite the contrary: though these sick folk become the object of care, it is not as a reward to them, but as an act of compassion towards them. Let none, therefore, say that the preacher encourages a low state of grace: he encourages it no more than the physician encourages disease when he tries by his care and skill to heal the sick.
I. DESIRES TOWARDS GOD SHOULD BE MADE KNOWN TO HIM.
1. Because our whole life ought to be transparent before God. What secrets can there be between a soul convinced of sin and a pardoning God.? Tell Him your fears for the past, your anxieties for the present, and your dreads for the future; tell Him your suspicions of yourself, and your trembling lest you should be deceived. Make all your heart known unto God, and keep back nothing, for much benefit will come to you from being honest with your best Friend.
2. Because it is commanded of God that, we should make our desires known to him. He says that "men ought always to pray and not to faint"; and again, "in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God." Jesus said, "Watch and pray," and His apostle said, "I will that men pray everywhere." And what is this but to make your desires known to God?
3. It is a great benefit to a man to be able to express his desires, and this is an argument for making them known to God. A glance at some desires would seal their doom, for we should feel them to be unworthy to be presented before the Lord. ]Jut when it is a holy and pure desire, tell it, for it will relieve your heart, it will heighten your estimate of the blessing sought, it will bring you to think over the promises made to such desires, it will thereby strengthen your hope that your desire will be fulfilled, and enable you by faith to obtain it. The prayerful expression of one desire will often quicken further desires, and make a thousand of them where there was but one.
4. A gracious expression of desire before God will often be to you a proof that those desires are right. Thy desire must be a good thing, or thou wouldst not dare to make it known to God; and seeing that it is a good thing, take care thou nurture it well, and cause it to grow by expressing it with thy whole heart before God.
II. DESIRES TOWARDS GOD ARE GRACIOUS THINGS. Intense groaning desires towards God are in themselves works of grace.
1. For certainly they are associated with other graces. When a man can say, "All my desire is towards God, and my heart groans after Him, and yet I find little in myself but these desires," I think we can point to some other good things which are in his heart. Surely humility is apparent enough. Thou takes, a right view of thyself, O man of desires! A lowly esteem hast thou of thyself, and this is well. Aye, and there is faith in thee, for no man heartily desires to believe unless he doth in some measure already believe. There is a measure of believing in every true desire after believing. And thou hast love, too; I am sure of it. Did ever a man desire to love that which he did not love already? Thou hast already some drawings of thy heart Christwards, or else thou wouldst not cry to be more filled with it. He who loves most is the very man who most passionately desires to love more. I am sure, also, that thou hast some hope; for a man does not continue to groan out before his God, and to make his desire known, unless he has some hope that his desire will be satisfied, and that his grief will be assuaged. David lets out the secret of his own hope, for he says in the fifteenth verse, "In Thee, O Lord, do I hope." You do not hope anywhere else, do you?
2. Another proof that they are gracious is that they come from God. Now, as God can say of all that He creates, "It is very good," I come to the conclusion that these groaning desires after God are very good. They are not great, nor strong, but they are gracious. There is water in a drop as well as in the sea, there is life in a gnat as well as in an elephant, there is light in a beam as well as in the sun, and so is there grace in a desire as truly as in complete sanctification.
3. Holy desires are a great test of character: a test of eminent value. You inquire, "Can you judge a man's character by his desires?" 1 answer, yes. I will give you the other side of the question that you may see our own side all the more clearly. You may certainly judge a bad man by his desires. Here is a man who desires to be a thief. Well, he is a thief in heart and spirit. Who would trust him in his house now that he knows that he groans to rob and steal? Let us, then, measure out justice in our own case by the rule which we allow towards others. If you have an earnest, agonizing desire towards that which is right, even though through the infirmity of the flesh and the corruption of your nature you do not reach to the height of your desire, yet that desire is a test of your character. The main set of the current determines its direction: the main bent of the desire is the test of the life.
III. DESIRES TOWARDS GOD ARE CAREFULLY OBSERVED BY HIM. God has a quick eye to spy out anything that is good in His people; if there is but one speck of soundness, if there is a single mark of grace, if there is any remaining token of spiritual life, though it be only a faint desire, though it be only a dolorous groan, the Father sees it, and records it, casting the evil behind His back, and refusing to behold it.
IV. EARNEST DESIRES TOWARDS, GOD WILL BE FULFILLED.
1. These desires are of God's creation, and you cannot imagine that God would create desires in us which He will not satisfy. Why, look even in nature, if He gives the beast hunger and thirst He provides for it the grass upon the mountains and the streams that flow among the valleys. If, then, He Himself has put in you a desire after Himself, He will give you Himself. If He has made you long after pardon, purity, eternal salvation, He means to give you these.
2. Remember, O desiring man, that already you have a blessing. When our Divine Master was on the mountain-side the benedictions which He pronounced were no word blessings, but they were full of weight and meaning, and among the rest of them is this — "Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness." Blessed while they hunger, blessed while they thirst. Yes, they are already blessed, and there is this at the back of it, "for they shall be filled."
3. And we may be sure that God will hear the desires which He has Himself created, because He loves to gratify right desires. It is said of Him in nature, "Thou openest Thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing." Doth God care for sparrows in the bush, for minnows in the brook, for midges in the air, for tiny things in a drop of stagnant water, and will He fail to satisfy the longings of His own children?
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.
WEB: Lord, all my desire is before you. My groaning is not hidden from you.