For the Lord takes pleasure in His people (ESV)
Of all the truths in the Bible this one ranks near the top of the list of things that are mind-boggling. The only thing that trumps this would be the fundamental idea of grace. The very notion that an all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God could find pleasure in me is simultaneously ridiculous, fascinating, humbling, and inspiring.
To keep things in perspective, the pleasure God takes in us is not something He lacks and/or “needs”. God has need of nothing. He is complete in Himself and He requires no outside help or effort to define Him or make Him who He is. The atheistic idea that man created God, essentially as a figment of our imagination, is nonsense. We only have to look at the things man has actually created to see the stark contrast.
But, with all of that being true, we are still confronted by the reality that God cares about us, and one of the dimensions of care and significance is pleasure and delight. Some people care about football, some about business, some about knowledge, some about family, etc…and all of these things have the ability to bring pleasure and delight to them. It is only the thing that you do not care for that doesn’t have the power to bring you pleasure. But we are assured in numerous ways that we matter to God.
Somehow I am not only a person with a family and a job and likes and dislikes and fears and hopes, but I am a being with eternal significance. What I do, who I am, how i think, what I decide, and how I live has the ability to cause a disturbance in heaven. Didn’t even Jesus say that the angels rejoice when one who was lost is found again and brought back to the house? Didn’t Paul indicate that the negative side of this is true as he admonishes us to not “grieve the Hoy Spirit”?
And the subtle myth is that I have to take a vow of “super-holiness” or dedicate the rest of my life to Indonesian missions to ensure that God delights in me. But, as a father, what I have found to be true is far more simple and beautiful. To watch my daughter sleep peacefully fills me with some kind of joy and satisfaction that I cannot fully comprehend or explain. Watching her eat fruit and getting her face messy; watching her ruin her hair; watching her run around the house after she’s had too much tea; listening to her sing half songs and unintelligible words and watching her try to put puzzles together – these things bring me joy and pleasure. She doesn’t have to tell me that she’s going to pressure wash the house in order to please me or for me to find delight in her. And similarly, God’s delight in us is based far more on relationship than any kind of special mastery. Even when we are sleeping, He looks at us and smiles.