She is little. A pipsqueak with a desire to be heard and understood. Her language is limited but there are a few words she knows exceptionally well. There is nothing that brings more joy to her heart than to see someone walking their dog. It does not matter the age of the dog. It does not matter the size of the dog. A smile of deep joy alights her face, her chubby finger points and with a voice full of delight she exclaims, “Puppy!” She can hardly contain her joy at seeing any puppy pass by. In fact, her whole body vibrates in delight.
Given the opportunity to pet a puppy, now a bit of hesitation sets in. Frankly, that’s fine. She needs to be careful around all of the puppies that bring her joy! Somehow, simply seeing a puppy, be it a real one, a stuffie, or even a picture fills her with joy. Who knew an animal could bring such delight.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:16-19 (NIV emphasis mine)
But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved! Psalm 18:16-19 (MSG emphasis mine)
My Heavenly Father delights in me. As I was reading Psalm 18, it literally jumped off the page at me. My Father delights in me. I sometimes question God’s delight in me. I come to the relationship full of doubt and disbelief. How can God love me? How can He look at me and not see things that need to be fixed or changed? Instead of delight, I often look at my life and see a to do list. Get better at this, finish that, attempt this, check off this item. All of these things help to sell myself short. I don’t believe that I am worth delighting in. The lie sprang up right from my fingertips. I don’t believe that I am worth delighting in.
God’s truth declares that I am made uniquely (Psalm 139). I am made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). I am loved and noticed by the One who made me. And the God who pays attention to me is specific (Matthew 6:25-34). It isn’t just broad strokes of knowledge like one has with an acquaintance, rather this is intimate understanding and affection. Jesus even asks “Are you not much more valuable than they” comparing my worth to the birds of the air. (Matthew 6:26b) He declares me deeply valuable!
The Psalmist David was clearly in a bad place. His need for rescue screamed from every fibre of his being. In the middle of his desperation, he commented about God’s rescue of him. God didn’t rescue David because David was a mighty warrior with a list of military accolades a mile long. David was not rescued because he was the future king. David was not rescued because Saul was on his tail. David was not rescued because of his giving, his elaborate prayers or any other good things he had done. David was rescued because God delighted in him.
My Father chooses to delight in me. I can never earn His delight. I will certainly never do anything to deserve His attention. No good deed, act of service, gift given, word spoken will ever be enough. The Father chooses to look on me in delight and affection. When He sees me in the middle of whatever quagmire I have found myself in, when I am at the end of my rope, He continues to remind me that He walks with me. His rescue operation may look nothing like what I wish for. But, I am never abandoned. The God who is my rescuer will continue to reach into my messes and rescue me because He delights in me.
Just as the little one delights in every puppy she sees with a smile on her face, my Father delights in me with a smile on His. I choose to turn my gaze to His and smile back in delight.