"The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV)
Friend to Friend
My friend Brad has a little girl named Elizabeth. When Elizabeth was one year old, Brad and his wife taught her sign language. For the word please, they chose to have her rub her chest. So, as Brad and Jamie taught Elizabeth to say please, they rubbed their own chests and said "please." Simple enough.
Elizabeth had a favorite toy. It's a plastic knobby toy that holds colorful rings. You know the one with the yellow pole and white base that, without the rings, loosely resembles a trumpet. (C'mon, use your imagination!) So, being the fun, creative parents that Brad and Jamie are, they would dump off the rings and playfully hold up Elizabeth's toy and make a trumpet sound. Elizabeth loved her parent's silliness. She laughed and clapped with delight. It became a favorite game in their household.
One day, when Brad and Elizabeth were playing the trumpet game, Elizabeth excitedly grabbed the toy and handed it back to him to do it again. Brad encouraged her to say "please" and reinforced the instruction by rubbing his chest. To his surprise, Elizabeth made her way over to him and started to rub his chest instead of her own.
Did this please her daddy? You bet it did!
Even though Elizabeth mixed up the signals, she communicated with her daddy. Brad was filled with love and joy by her effort. He was pleased that she came to him. Not because she did or didn't do something right, but just because she is his daughter and he loves her. He adores her.
God adores you too. Just because you are His child. His sweet daughter. "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3:1a).
Have you considered that perhaps God isn't longing for you to come to Him with perfect, polished prayers that have fifty-cent words and flowery language? Have you thought about the pleasure God experiences when you simply approach him just as you are, warts and all, because He loves you? He delights in your attention. He takes pleasure when you go to Him simply because you are His.
I love how the psalmist responded to God's love:
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits--
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Heavenly Father, Thanks for this reminder of Your love for me. Thanks for seeing me as precious and special. I'm amazed by Your love. I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness that You made a way for me to know You through Jesus Christ. Help me to come to You as I am each day...without pretenses, pride, or perfection, but simply with Your permission to just be me...because You love me. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Now It's Your Turn
- Read Zephaniah 3:17 again silently
- Now read it again aloud
- Now read it aloud three more times and insert your name after each 'you' --
"The LORD your God is with you (insert name here), He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you (name), He will quiet you (name) with His love, He will rejoice over you (name) with singing." Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)