Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. (Ps 73:25)
This is one of my all-time favourite verses, so beautifully clear and simple. Like Asaph, I have to fight hard to maintain this clarity of thought in my life; yet I know this is what centres me as a Christian. When I really think about it, being with God is all I desire. He is all I ultimately need. And in those times when I understand this, it has inspired me again and again to draw near to my Father in heaven.
No-one has expressed this truth better than Jonathan Edwards. He writes:
God is the highest good of the reasonable creature; and the enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops; but God is the ocean.
This does not mean I don’t enjoy every one of God’s good gifts of creation. It does not mean I don’t have deep longings and real needs, which are met by my God-given wife, friends and church, and by creation generally. This verse does not turn me into a hermit or a monk. But it does mean that I don’t need a pay-off in this life. Why is that? It is because God himself is the pay-off. God is not a means to an end, but the end itself.
As I read the words of Asaph, the psalmist, in Psalm 73:25, I was struck by their simplicity and beauty. But I was also struck by the fact that they sometimes don’t roll off the tongue so easily. Can I honestly say that there is nothing on earth that I desire besides God? Or do I find myself more often than not saying, “Life would be perfect if only I just had…”
There are a million different ways that you could finish that sentence, but as a single woman, I find it’s almost always the same. Life would be perfect if only I had a husband and kids. Of course there’s no problem in desiring these things, marriage and children are good gifts from God, as are many of the things a person might long for. I guess the problem comes though when, in the absence of these things, we start to feel that we are somehow incomplete.
As I’ve read through Ray’s reflections on the psalms though, I’ve been reminded of the all sufficiency of my Saviour. That even though I am so feeble and inadequate, in him I am whole. In him I have everything I could ever need. And so regardless of my circumstances, whether married or not, I too can say that God is enough for me.