God Rejoices Over Me? Not Likely
by Marcia Lee Laycock
“I can’t remember anyone greeting me like that before.”
I smiled as my husband and I pulled away from our rental property. We hadn’t seen our tenants, a Syrian refugee family, for almost two months due to illnesses, both theirs and ours, so we expected our reunion would be joyous, but we did not expect that Nabil* would almost skip across the room, his arms wide, his eyes dancing with delight. His embrace was obviously heart-felt.
Then Nabil’s mother embraced me with the traditional kiss on both cheeks, then it was his wife’s turn, and then the children came one by one. We sat in their living room and had tea, then Yara disappeared into the kitchen and it wasn’t long before a huge meal was on the table. In their limited English they told us how well the children were doing in school and some of the health issues they’d been dealing with. As we visited it amazed me, once again, at how much could be communicated with so little ability to speak one another’s languages.
I still smile when I think of the delight in Nabil’s eyes that day. The scripture tells us that God, too, delights in us. Psalm 149, verse 4 says, “For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” And the prophet Zephaniah tells us, “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
There have been many times when I’ve had a hard time believing those words. When I examine my own heart and see the twisted motives that lurk there, I can’t believe God would be delighted in me. When I hear harsh or cynical words come out of my mouth, I doubt that He would rejoice over me with singing. There are days when I think that I’m just a big disappointment to God and imagine Him giving a deep sigh as he turns away.
But my unbelief is cut to shreds by verses like these: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5); “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5).
And my personal favourite, Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
These verses are true because of what Jesus did on the cross. If we accept that sacrifice, if we seek that forgiveness, there is nothing that can come between us and His love, not even our own flaws and failings. Yes, then He delights in us and sings over us because we are His children, adopted into a family that will never be dissolved, a community that will live with Him forever.
Because of the cross I will one day see an even greater delight in the eyes of Jesus than I saw that day in the eyes of our friend.
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him” (Psalm 62:5).
*Names have been changed