What mother doesn’t delight in her children sometimes? Sure, it doesn’t feel delightful when Mr. C is teasing his sister, and she’s screaming about it again. I usually don’t enjoy when JP is throwing a (rare for now) tantrum because he doesn’t want to finish his dinner–he wants dessert now! And no, I’m never excited when Little E is refusing to brush her teeth.
But what mother doesn’t DELIGHT in her children sometimes? To me, the word describes the feeling well–the feeling of being thrilled and taken with my children. I know I’m not alone. Although most moms don’t talk too much about it, probably for fear of sounding like they’re bragging, I’ve heard it in their voices as they describe a child’s new accomplishment or cute saying. I felt it when Little E found her mothering instinct and read to JP on the couch. I felt it when Mr. C received a large prize of chocolate and decided immediately that he would give half to his little sister. I even felt it when JP worked hard at his new puzzle and finished it well. I delight in my children sometimes. Sometimes I just have to scoop them up in my arms and cover their faces with kisses.
God is our Father if we have been adopted into His family, if we are Christians (Romans 8:15), and God is good, perfect actually. I know that my viewpoint of a good father might be skewed since I don’t have a perfect idea of what is good, but it seems to me that a good human father would delight in his children sometimes. Using the logic that Matthew uses in Matthew 7:11, if a good father would delight in his children (as my brother below delights in his newborn son), then how much more would our Father in heaven delight in us, at least at times, if not all the time?
This idea blows me away. God, the Author of all creation, the Holy One, the One who knows everything, might sometimes delight in ME? Because even when I do a good thing, I never do it with absolutely pure motives, and He knows that better than I do. But don’t I know that about my kids, as well? And don’t I still get excited anyway when I see progress in their choice to do right?
In fact, to take this a step further, it’s often not even my kids’ actions that make me delight in them. It’s just them: Mr. C’s little mischievous smile under his freckled nose, his doe’s eyes fringed with the longest, thickest lashes ever, his competitive spirit, and the way he creates one interesting Lego creation after another; Little E’s long golden ringlets and long, dainty toes, and the way she draws an intricate quirky picture and then proceeds to describe every last detail to me; and JP’s chubby cheeks and unruly white-blonde curls, and the way he squeezes his dark eyes shut and grins a goofy grin just to make me laugh. I could go on and on–it’s not just what they do. It’s who they are that I love.
Does God love me that much? Does He delight in me that way despite my sinfulness? Or does He only delight in me because I’m covered by Jesus, so that He really doesn’t ever think much of me but only Jesus who covers me? No, because while we were still sinners, Christ showed His love by dying for us (Romans 5:8). I can believe He does delight in me when I’m doing right because of Proverbs 11:20 (written before Jesus’ atonement): “The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their walk are His delight.” I know I’m never fully blameless, but unless He means here that He doesn’t delight in anybody (since nobody is ever truly blameless), I think this must mean as blameless as a human could be.
I can believe that He might find delight in me when I do what is right (“Well done, good and faithful servant!” Matthew 25:21). It’s a lot harder for me to fathom that He might delight in who I am just because I’m His creation and His daughter.
But if a good father would…wouldn’t the best Father do the same?
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39