"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
For a long time, I would read the first verse here- about delighting in the Lord, and I always wondered what on earth it really meant. How does one delight in the Lord? What does it mean- to delight? Delight means 'to take great pleasure', but how do we really take great pleasure in the Lord? How do we actually know that we are delighting in God?
The other day I was driving with the kids, and they were looking at the clouds as we drove. They were talking about the different shapes they made and were simply talking about how the clouds looked- and it was with the same excitement as if they had opened a present and found something really cool inside. And my thought to myself was- look at that! They are delighting in God's creation. It was like the tumblers clicked in my head to reveal some magical combination. My children were delighting in God. Ah, Jesus said a few things about children.
"Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" Matthew 19:14
"And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3
"I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10:15
I think the key to delighting in the Lord is to take off our grown up hats and think like a child. My children are wonders and marvels- they delight in the simplest of things. The other day it snowed for the first time, and Zander and I sat at the patio window and watched the flakes fall. They were huge and lacy snowflakes, and he was so surprised to see that the snow that fell was not just little balls of snow- that they were in fact flakes. Or the other day on the way to a birthday party, Abigail was riding in the front seat of the van, and off in the distance the sun was setting and turning some clouds gorgeous shades of pink and purple and orange, and Abigail couldn't keep her eyes off them. We'll be sitting at the table doing math, and then a squirrel in the yard will catch her attention, and we'll watch him scurry across the lawn, stopping to hide a nut here and there. Or a flock of sparrows will descend on one of the shrubs right by the patio, and it will fill our house with bird song, so we stop what we're doing to investigate, and my children squeal with joy to see all the birds just a few feet from them.
They delight in so much of God's creation! They delight so easily! Abigail will hold out her arms and twirl in the rain to enjoy the droplets on her face and hands. When is the last time you held out your hands and twirled for joy? When was the last time you skipped to the mailbox? Or turned a cartwheel on the lawn that is warm from the summer sunshine? Childish actions bring forth childish thoughts. And enjoying every facet of God's creation IS delighting in the Lord.
When we went to the apple orchard a few weeks ago, it took us mere minutes to pick two gigantic bags of apples- there were so many apples on the trees. And even though the activity took so little time- the kids enjoyed every second. They had sparkles in their eyes as they saw all the beautiful apples that God made and had put on these trees just so that they could pick and enjoy them. The same delightful sparkle is in their eyes every year as we walk up to the strawberry patch and see the bushes laden with ruby red gems of berries.
Now think of the fruit of the Spirit. God made those for us to enjoy them too! When was the last time we put that patience into practice and delighted in that? Um, probably never? When we're going through something that requires us to be patient, I bet every single one of us complains about it. Oh, we all joke about how God is using a trial to teach us patience, but on the inside, we're not joking. We're tired of trying to be patient, and we just want the lesson over already. What if, instead of stewing on the inside, we simply reached out, grabbed hold of that patience and thanked God for it, with a sparkle in our eyes. What if we did something completely irrational and twirled around in circles in our living room and thanked God for the patience he is allowing to blossom and grow in our lives. Sure, we might feel silly at first, but I happen to think that if we were to approach challenges with the mind of a child, that they would seem more like a grand adventure than a burden to overcome.
Sometimes we just need to stop what we're doing, and jump up and down and thank God for being His children. And then we need to remember that we are just that- Children of God. Children. The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. I think I don't mind so much taking off my grown-up hat from time to time.