I don’t know how many times I’d read the words before.  I’m sure I’d read them.  It seems impossible that I hadn’t, but they never jumped out at me the way they did that day during my first year in Africa.

I really don’t know what was going on in my life at that point.  I just know the verse made me stop.  I read.  I reread.  I’m pretty sure my eyes leaked a little bit.

The words?

“The LORD your God is with you,

The Mighty Warrior who saves.

He will take great delight in you;

in his great love he will no longer rebuke you,

but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:17

The idea that God delights in me blew me away.  I knew and know that he loved me–but I also realized you can love someone and be grieved by them.  But to delight in someone?  You’ve got to not just love them, you must also enjoy them.

I’m a first born.  I’m fairly good at following rules.  At that point in my life, parts of my relationship with God were more rule based than relationship based.  Doing most things routinely grates against the core of my being.  The combination of following rules about my spiritual life (have your time with God before you get into your day) and my dislike of routine (and mornings) caused a lot of guilt.  The idea of God singing over me did not fit into any picture in my head.

About the same time I read this I was attending a Bible study led by one of the dorm moms, Jean.  I learned so much from her over the years our lives overlapped at ICA.  At this point one of the things she said (and I doubt she knew she was speaking directly to me) dovetailed with this verse. Her words went something like this,  “Do you think God is folding is arms, impatiently tapping his toe, and scowling at you because you’re not getting time with him before your day starts?  No!  When you spend time with him, he’s thrilled that you stopped and made time to spend with your friend, your father.”

Her words combined with God’s words started to change my thinking.  He no longer rebukes me; he rejoices over me with singing.  He’s not grumpy because I’m not a morning person and don’t like routine.  He’s delighted and finds me delightful.  It makes him joyful when we spend time together at random times throughout the day.  He doesn’t have a stopwatch to record the minutes spent in prayer or reading.  He has arms to embrace me and a melody to whisper in my ear.  I get to relax in him and he delights in me.  We get to enjoy each other.

John Piper points out that as the Father delights in us, it shifts our focus to him.  What could be better than this mutual delight?

What do you think of God delighting in you?

photo courtesy of photonut on

Today I’m blogging with the Faith Barista. “Delight” is her word for 2012. Now that you’ve read my thoughts on it. Go check out hers.

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