For the last month or so I have been thinking about what it means to “rejoice in the Lord always,” and in this process I was reminded that the Lord rejoices over me. (Zeph. 3:17) During this time my husband and I were asked to babysit for our two granddaughters while my son and his wife attended their denominational conference. Because they were traveling to California and the kids were still in school they asked us to take care of the kids’ during the school week. They asked their other grandparents to take the next shift until the parents got home so no set of grandparents would be overwhelmed and the kids would get to enjoy both sets of grandparents. God used this time to speak to me about “enjoying God.”
Our oldest granddaughter is very bonded to me and although both granddaughters love me and I love them, it is my oldest who expresses her enjoyment of me in obvious ways. She wants to be near me. Each morning she comes downstairs and wants to snuggle in my lap. Often she is satisfied to just sit there and be close to me. These are special times when I often talk to her about how much I love her, or I ask her about her plans for the day, or I tell her about my plans for her that day. It is a very special time as I can feel the warmth of her love, her desire to be near me. I know that she is not afraid of me, and not only loves me but enjoys me. When I get ready to leave her she is always sad to see me go, and when she hears I am coming to visit she gets very excited. In fact, when I call her one of her first requests is about when I will see her next.
I know that my younger granddaughter loves me and I love her too, I’m just not so sure how much she enjoys me. Although she comes and hugs me and often brings me gifts of artwork or change from her piggybank, she is often distracted by other things and after a brief hug returns to what she was doing. She is always busy. When I have the IPad out she quickly runs to me to see if she can play games on it. When her sister and I are sitting together and doing something fun she will sometimes come to me, stand, and look at me with questioning eyes that say, “Is it OK for me to climb up in your lap too, even though I haven’t been paying much attention to you?” Not a word is said as I reach out to lift her up to my lap and hold her close. Her inattention to me is forgiven and we snuggle in, happy to be in one another’s presence once again. Then, after a time she climbs down to do something else while her sister contentedly remains. Often she asks, “How long will it be before Nana comes and gets me?” (When it’s her Mom she is expecting to see then its, “How long before we see Mommy?”) It is always the same from the first day we are together until the moment we get her home. She is anxious to leave my presence. I finally said to her, “You know you are making me feel like you don’t love me.” She answered, “I love you. I just want to know when Nana (Mommy) is coming for me.” My heart yearns for her to be satisfied with me, eager to see me, and enjoy my company. I know she loves me, but she is more interested in what I can do for her than just enjoying me.
That is when the Lord said, “Now you know how I feel. Sometimes you are eager to be in my presence, sometimes you are distracted by many things, and sometimes you just run in and ask me to do something for you and then off you go again.” It was then that I realized that the Lord, too, yearned for me to just want to be with Him. He reminded me of the Mary and Martha story (Luke 10). The Mary-Martha syndrome has been a part of my life as I have ping ponged from Mary, at the feet of Jesus, to Martha, distracted by many things. No matter how hard I try I can’t be all Mary, and, thankfully, I am not all Martha. (But as an aside I do realize that Mary wasn’t always the Mary at Jesus’ feet, and Martha was not always distracted. When you read John 11:20-33 you see that they reversed their roles and Martha was the first at Jesus’ feet, the one who believed. After all, their story was just one moment in time and Martha, like us, once confronted, could change.)
So what am I trying to say to you? I think that God wants to remind us that loving one another is not just doing something for one another; it is enjoying one another’s company. But are there Bible verses to point to this and how do we actually put this idea into action? Here are a few of my thoughts as I share scripture with you.
- God shows His love for us as he delights in us.
“…the LORD delights in you…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” Is. 62:4-5 (ESV)
- The Lord hopes that we would long for Him as a deer longs for water to quench his thirst.
“As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.” Ps. 42:1-2 (ESV)
- If we will listen the word of the Lord will come to us. It sometimes comes with words, in life situations, in dreams, through the words of others, or in our daily devotions. Our job is to listen for it and when we hear it to receive it and let it change our future actions. (Jer. 25:1-6)
- The Lord is eager to have us come to Him, to rest in Him, and trust Him with all the things that are in our lives. He promises to help us.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28)
- He promises to gently teach us and asks us not to be afraid of asking Him for help.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart…” (Matt. 11:29)
- He promises to give us a safe place to snuggle in and rest. “…you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29)
- We can come to the Lord and He will receive us because He loves and cares for us.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6-7)
- God knows my name. My picture is tattooed on the palm of each of His hands. If He had a frig He would have our picture on it!
“Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands…” (Is. 49:16 AMP)
- He sings over us.
“He will take great delight in you: in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph. 3:17)
- Come into His presence unafraid, eager to enjoy Him.
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come before His presence with singing!
Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!
For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.” (Ps. 100 AMP)
How To Enjoy God
- Once you realize that He loves you no matter what, that you can’t sin His love away, you can call out to Him. If you need to, tell Him your sorry.
- Find a quiet place where you can be together. I find that instrumental worship music or sometimes sitting outside helps.
- I like to start my time with Him by thanking Him for all He’s done for me.
- Sometimes I feel the heavy presence of God, sometimes I feel peace and sometimes I feel nothing, but don’t give up. He’s promised that if we call, He will come.
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14 ESV)
- Believe that He is there as He is looking for someone like you.
“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Chron. 16:9 ESV)
- When He comes enjoy Him and remember to thank Him for coming before you leave Him.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind…” Luke 10:27
May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may overflow to bubbling over with a renewed sense that God not only loves you but also enjoys you. Love and enjoy Him in return.
Bible scripture quotes from NIV unless otherwise indicated.