A quiet calm settled over the kitchen as we ate our lunch in contented silence. That afternoon I sat with a dog eared book and she sat with markers and paper and right there I counted the reasons I had to be thankful. You know it when you’ve reached that sweet spot of happiness. When all seems right with the world and your cup is overflowing you can’t help but be grateful for the little moments. When peace reigns it is easy to find my delight and joy in God. I am grateful for that moment because I know that it was not a forever moment. The day will go on, the week will bring new challenges and new stresses- that is simply a part of life. But for the moment I revel in the gift of peace. I have been practicing delight, even while it’s been hard, and in that moment God had given me the desire of my heart for peace and rest.
Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.
He knew what my heart needed on that day and I am grateful for it.
Delighting in God seems to fill a reservoir in me. It takes that barren place in my soul and restores it. I think this must be why the greats of the faith were able to endure great trials, not because of their super spirituality but because they knew how to take joy in Christ. Their inner wells were always being filled. The Israelites struggled to learn this one; they wandered for years in the desert, always forgetting what God had done. It’s as if they forgot to delight in God. They turned their own way and disregarded God’s years of faithfulness. Their spiritual amnesia caused barrenness in their souls.
Psalm 106 paints this vivid picture of forgetting God, not seeking his counsel, giving in to temptations, and then experiencing a “leanness of soul.” Some versions call it a wasting disease. It is clear that the Israelite’s physical condition mirrored their inner lives: barren, lean, empty.
But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his counsel. In the desert they gave into their craving; in the wasteland they put God to the test. So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease upon them. Psalm 106: 14-15
I wonder if all started with a failure to delight. Delighting in God fills me so that I can withstand trials and temptations. God commands delight not because he can’t think of anything better to do; he commands it because he knows that is what our souls need. Because delighting in God, like worship, takes our eyes off ourselves and turns them to the one who matters more. Delighting in God in the good times fills those otherwise unfillable areas in our lives. And when those are filled we are stronger to face the hard times that come. And even though I’d love to be optimistic I think I’ll take reality in this area, the plain truth is that there will be hard times in our lives. They may be major and linger for months or years or they may be small and pretty short as well. Whether it’s a rough day or a rough season, the delight stored in our soul will help us to withstand those trials. And the inner reserve allows us to be at peace even in the midst of the storm.
That is why daily turning to God, daily delighting in him is so vital. I’ll be honest; there have been days when all I could do to delight in God was to thank him that I was still alive and sucking air. But that small turning to him, practiced over and over and over, teaches us. I don’t want to reduce delighting in God to mere duty, but it is a discipline. And practiced over and over it teaches our hearts to have the right response no matter what. You see, we cannot control our situation but we can control how we respond. The more we turn to him the more we see how he meets us in the good and in the bad and in everything in between. We are admonished in the book of James to rejoice or delight and pray no matter how we feel.
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. (James 5:13 emphasis added)
It’s those songs of praise, songs of delighting in God that fill us up for the troubled times.
This is part of an ongoing series on choosing delight. At the beginning of this year I felt the challenge from the Lord to delight in him more, always, whenever and whatever is going on. I’m unpacking this weekly for you to be encouraged and for me to remember. Thank you for joining me on this journey, and thank you especially for your heartfelt comments and encouragement on my last post. I treasure each one.