“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
The verse contains such a wonderful blend of strength and laughter. It’s a recognition –a confident assertion of who God is and what He can accomplish – so that I may finally relax and rest
and discover His delight!
I may be weak, and often beset with fear and failure but the Lord my God who is centre-stage in all that I do is Mighty. So why would I self-obsess? Why would I even focus on the storm around me when the Stormbreaker is in the boat? He is in the midst of it all, and yet he’s so unconcerned that he’s asleep.
As someone said, “Don’t tell the Lord how big your storm is. Tell the storm how big your Lord is.”
So how big is He?
It’s useful to note the tenses here. He IS mighty. He WILL save. That’s a very important point. Because of what He presently is, there are some obvious future consequences.
He IS mighty, [so] He will save, “He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will rest in His love; He will joy over thee with singing.”
He takes delight in us! He really does!
He is not demanding perfect performance, only perfect trust.
There’s an insightful moment in Yōko Ogawa’s novel The Housekeeper and the Professor which describes the Professor thus: He “never really seemed to care whether we figured out the right answer to a problem. He preferred our wild, desperate guesses to silence, and he was even more delighted when those guesses led to new problems that took us beyond the original one. He had a special feeling for what he called the “correct miscalculation,” for he believed that mistakes were often as revealing as the right answers.”
Did you see it? He delighted not in the right answers but in the “wild, desperate” lurching towards them… even if it meant towards new problems!
You better settle to the fact that you are never going to figure everything out. You better calm down and realise that nothing will ever be complete, sorted, organised. It’s only a journey. Messy at best.
But God delights over the mad process of His dearly loved child trying out his faith, lurching into the unknown. He delights in our questions, in our daft schemes, in our wrong answers, in our enthusiasms, in our having a go, in our very foolishness… Why?
…..Because He delights in US.
It’s an amazingly liberating truth. He delights in me!
In Perelandra, the Science-Fiction fantasy by C.S,Lewis, the author describes the birth of a new world, with a new Eve who expresses this experience of delight between Creator and Created-one in a passage of breathtaking beauty:
“I thought … that I was carried in the will of Him I love, but now I see that I walk with it. I thought that the good things He sent drew me into them as the waves lift the islands; but now I see that it is I who plunge into them with my own legs and arms, as when we go swimming. I feel as if I were living in that roofless world of [Earth] where men walk undefended beneath naked heaven. It is a delight with terror in it! One’s own self to be walking from one good to another, walking beside Him as Himself may walk, not even holding hands. How has He made me so separate from Himself? How did it enter His mind to conceive such a thing? The world is so much larger than I thought. I thought we went along paths–but it seems there are no paths. The going itself is the path.”
This morning I want to simply receive the reassurance of the Father’s intense pleasure in me. I determine to agree that –strange as it may sound – I am His dearly loved child. And Lord, I desire to hear your singing over me!
I want to discover your delight.
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”