“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
In different seasons of my life my vocabulary has been based on different lexicons. In college words like, “cool” and “oh man” and yes, even “groovy” were a part of my everyday language. As a young mom, I think the word “tired” was well-worn as it was the answer, excuse and explanation for everything I thought, said or felt. During my early career it was the term “busy” that came to my lips regularly.
About a year and a half ago I entered a new stage of life and with it came a whole new set of standard phrases. My favorite, of course, is my new name, Shosho (grandma from the KiKuyu of Kenya) but I also find myself saying often “darling” and “delightful.”
It has been delightful to watch my grandchildren begin to smile, learn to walk, and attempt to sing. I find deep pleasure when they run to greet me and snuggle up close to look at books together. I don’t think “delight” ever even crossed my lips until they came into my life. I’m sure I never really understood what it means.
The dictionary describes the noun, “delight,” as “great pleasure, joy, rapture.” The verb is, “to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment to; please highly.”
In Psalm 37:4 we have an amazing promise: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Notice this verse doesn’t say, “Beg the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” No, this is an invitation for us to enter in, to lean in and to find God totally enrapturing…to be eager to watch him and the amazing things he does…to long to sit quietly with him and enjoy his presence. This kind of delight comes from deep treasuring.
As a young mom the weight of responsibility for my children was overwhelming at times. I knew that discipline and correction and training were essential parts of being a good parent. I worked hard to mold and direct them. Yes, I also enjoyed my children, but often I just tried to get them to do what I wanted them to do.
Now as Shosho, I am not burdened with the cares of being the parent, and while I do help to shape my grandchildren, which requires a measure of discipline, I think my main job is to enjoy them, to delight myself in them. And what happens as a result? I am blessed beyond measure. The joy their giggles bring is indescribable. My happiness in treasuring them fulfills a deep desire in my heart that I just can’t quite explain. My job is not to get them to do what I want them to do. My job is to enjoy them.
There are many delights in life. Grandchildren are just my own current source. Others might include the enjoyment of a tasty meal shared with good friends, the sweet pleasure of newlywed love, the meaningful satisfaction of serving those in need. None have to do with requesting the delight. It just comes through the relationships.
When God invites us to delight in him, he is offering experiences such as those. He tells us to stop trying to get him to give us what we want, and instead just enjoy him. When we find our treasure in him we have found our treasure. By delighting in him our deepest desires are fulfilled. The Westminster Confession tells us that the chief end of mankind is to: glorify God and enjoy him forever. Part of our very purpose on earth is to delight in our God. Part of our faith inheritance is to enjoy God now even before we join him in heaven: “You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,” 1 Peter 1:8 (NET)
As we delight ourselves in the Lord, may we find ourselves developing a new vocabulary filled with words of thanksgiving, wonderment and gladness. And we may find that our hearts’ desires are filled with the delights of the Lord.