The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)
For most of my life I have thought that God loved me and always meant the best for me, but that God delighted in me, I found hard to even imagine. I suspected that most of the time God must be disappointed in me!
But through being a parent and now a grandparent, I am continually reminded of God’s fatherly heart. It happened again for me last week as my wife Rita and I flew to Dallas for the sole purpose of spending time with children and grandchildren. We had no other plan in mind but to just be with them. I found myself basking in the delight of being with our children and sharing their delight in their children. There was love, yes, but also inexpressible delight!
But it was a God-sighting for me last Saturday when Rita and I were awarded the enviable task of babysitting. As mom and dad went out on a date, Rita and I got to take care of our five year old granddaughter and her two year old brother. Throughout the evening I was reminded how precious the simplest family tasks can be. We fixed dinner together, discussed the probability of Spider Man’s existence, kissed away bruises, and negotiated how many more carrots had to be eaten before dessert. It was delight!
Then, as Rita played with big sister, I set about putting little brother to bed. First there was putting on a clean diaper and PJ’s, getting yet one more drink, then settling into the rocker to read favorite bedtime books. Finally, after identifying all the animals in the zoo and mimicking their sounds, we grew tired of reading. So we sang about a spider climbing up a water spout, and how Jesus loves all the children of the world.
Then our singing grew into silence. We rocked back and forth without a word needing to be said. The old rocker creaked it’s familiar melody as I delighted in my grandson’s presence. I rejoiced in him. I didn’t just love him but delighted in him, and thought about God also delighting in me.
Holding my son’s son, I thought of how our heavenly Father seeks to reveal His heart for us. Through the psalmist’s joyful song God says that “As a father has compassion for his children, so the LORD has compassion” for us (Psalm 103:13). That moment seemed a window into the Father’s delight for us. Then, through a father and prophet Hosea, God tells of His fatherly love for His children: “I took them up in my arms…I lifted them to my cheek…bent down to them and fed them” (Hosea 11:3-4). As I rocked my grandson I thought of how God lovingly puts me to bed each night. It became a meditative experience of our Father’s love and delight.
Then my mind went to today’s text, one of my favorites. Holding my grandson, I thought of the text in a new light. The God who is mighty to save “will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing”. I thought of how I can be just like a little child, fretful, anxious, afraid of the dark times of life, and the Father “quiets” me with “his love”. He whispers to me that all shall be well, for He is holding me. And He rejoices over me with singing, delighting and rejoicing in me being His child.
On the late night flight home from Dallas I thought how easy it is to lose sight of our Father’s delight in His children. My delight in my children and grandchildren pales alongside God’s infinite delight in us.
Today looks different to me because I know that God not only loves me, but He delights and rejoices in me. And you take heart, for He delights in you too. He can’t stop thinking about you!
Grace and peace,
photo by sam.d