Delight

This was originally published on January 8, 2011 on A Beauty Glorious.

I have a confession: sometimes I think I have a pretty good understanding of God’s heart for me. He loves me unconditionally, he calls me his beloved and his favorite one, he wants to use me to change the world, I get all that. Or at least I think I do. Every now and then, though, God reveals a whole new dimension of love to me, and I can’t help but be overwhelmed all over again.

There was a time a few months ago at a youth leadership meeting when the pastor asked us to take a few quiet minutes to imagine in our own minds what God thinks of us. What came into my mind was, “God is delighted in me, but he is eager for me to grow.”

The pastor then asked us to actually ask God what he thinks of us. I didn’t think God’s answer would be much different from mine, but he surprised me. What I believe God told me was, “I am delighted in you, and so I am eager for you to grow.”

I was floored. There’s a huge difference, isn’t there? I had been feeling like God was saying, “I love you, and the way you’re living now is a good start, but not quite what I had in mind. You’re still not quite measuring up.”

But that is so NOT the truth! What God really says to me is more like, “I LOVE YOU!I’m so proud of you, you’re doing great! Keep it up, I can’t wait to take you further!”

I mess up, I do stupid things, and I don’t do what I know I should be doing, but he still smiles when he looks at me. He is still so excited and proud when I keep trying!

I don’t understand this. My tendency is always to imagine that God is up in heaven somewhere shaking his head and saying, “Oh, Caitlyn, Caitlyn, Caitlyn. You sure blew that one,” and then I have to go him like a dog with its tail tucked between its legs to repent so he can stop being disappointed in me.

I’m not trying to say that sin isn’t a big deal; it is. And I’m not trying to say that repentance isn’t serious and important; it is. But my sin never surprises God. It doesn’t shock him, and it doesn’t disappoint him, as if he had his hopes up expecting me to do the right thing and then I let him down. He already knew. The day he wrote my name in his book, he already knew exactly how many sins I was going to commit over the course of my life. He already knew exactly how many sins his blood would cover. He didn’t say, “Ah, Caitlyn looks promising! She could be pretty awesome if she doesn’t screw this up.”

He already knew. And still he chose me just the same.

Because here’s the deal: he sees me through the veil of Jesus’ blood–his holiness. He looks at me and he sees the person he made me to be. That’s what forgiveness is all about. He knows he’s still helping me work through my junk, but since he sees all times at once, he can look at me and see who I will be a thousand years from now, when I am in heaven and not struggling with all this anymore. Isn’t that a crazy thought.

What blows my mind is this: My failing and struggling and trying and falling does not lessen God’s delight in me. Let me say that again:

My struggling does not lessen God’s delightin me!

I thrill his heart! Even when I’m all tangled up with my junk and I’m so frustrated at myself, he still looks at me and calls me beautiful. That’s a miracle, right there.

In fact, it’s the struggle that he loves! He loves it when I don’t just give up and give in to sin but keep wrestling with it, because that struggle proves my love for him. I screw up far too often, and my love might be shaky at times, but God knows that it’s genuine. He gets so excited when I come back again
and again
and again
and again
and again
and again because that’s me reaching out for him. It would be so much easier to just write myself off as a failed Christian and just decide to live however I want, rather than trying over and over and over. It’s hard to try over and over and over! And God loves it when I do the hard things for him.

Here’s the kicker: God’s not just putting up with me. Nor is he giving grace just because he’s God and that’s what he does. It’s true, grace is part of God’s nature, but there’s more than that.

He wants me. He actually wants to be with me. Not only does he love me, he really likes me! (Have you ever said about someone, “I may love him, but I don’t have to like him”? Not God.) He is completely infatuated with me. He dances over me. He loves to hang out with me. He wants to hang out with me for all eternity!

I make his heart smile. I make God’s heart smile, just by being me!

And that is a truth that will keep me coming back,
again,
and again
and again
and again
and again.

These thoughts were pretty directly inspired by some things I’ve been discovering through Misty Edwards, particularly her prophetic song “I Knew What I Was Getting Into.” Below is the video and the transcript.

(starting at 1 minute)
Listen, my beloved
Listen, my beloved
Listen, my beloved ones, in whom I am well pleased
Listen, my beloved ones
I knew what I was getting into when I called you
And I am not surprised with you now
I knew what I was getting into you
When I said your name
And still I said it just the same
I know you better that you do
I knew what I was getting into when I chose you
I chose you still
I knew what I was getting into
I know you’re afraid
And I remember that you are but dust
But I know where this is going
I knew what I was getting into when I called you
I don’t regret it
I am not shocked by your struggle
I am not put off by your struggle
I am not disgusted or ashamed of you
No
I knew what I was getting into when I chose you
And I said,
“He is my vessel, he is my chosen one
She’s my vessel, she’s my chosen one
You see, it’s not about you
It’s all about me
I chose you and that’s enough
And I’m gonna bring you forth in love
I’m gonna bring you to the end
I’m gonna bring you to the end in strength
Cause I see strength in you
When all that you can see inside of you is your own weakness
Oh, but I see the end from the beginning
And I know where this is going
And you’ve barely just begun
But you see, you see,
So few will ever fight the good fight
At least you’re fighting
Even when you feel you’re losing
So few will ever enter into the battle
But you refuse to quit
And this is all I ask
This is all I ask
So few will ever look back at me and say,
“I really want to love you!”
But you say it every day, every day
You say, “I really want to love you!”
And you cry
And you say, “I’m so sinful, and I’m so full of compromise!”
And I see your confession and it’s real
And I still believe those vows you make, you break
You make, you break
I still believe in you
I knew what I was getting into when I called you
And I called you just the same
I knew what I was getting into when I beckoned you
And I still beckon you today
I am not surprised by your struggle
No
I am not disgusted by your discovery
You’re the one that is surprised
In your pride you thought that you were better than that

Listen

I see the seeds of righteousnessin you
I’ve clothed you with the blood of my Son
And its enough
It’s enough, it’s enough
Why are you trying to get in a room you’re already in?
You’re already in
I am not surprised
I know you better than you know yourself
And you say “yes” and so few do
Who is this, who is this, who is this who’s beautiful as Tirzah
Awesome as Jerusalem
Awesome as an army with banners?
Who is this?
Lovely as Jerusalem
Beautiful as Tirzah
Who is this?
Look away from me
Your eyes, they overwhelm me
Yes, your eyes, your eyes, they overwhelm me
I sympathize with you
I know you’re in a dark night of faith
And yet you still have faith and so few do
You are my favorite one
You’re the only one I see
You’re the only one, my favorite one
You’ve ravished me
Dare to believe
I know you’re disappointed with the way your life is coming down
And bitterness is trying to bind you like a plague
But you fought
And you fight
And you press on
And you push
And you long
And you reach
And you mourn
And you hunger
And you thirst
That’s all I ask of you
It’s all I ask of you
It’s all I ask of you
It’s all I ask of you
Do you know the way this moves me?
You’ve ruined me
You’ve ruined me
Nothing can overwhelm me, but you overwhelm me
Your eyes are like doves’ eyes
Your eyes are like doves’ eyes
You think that you waver in your vision
Oh, but you come back again and again and again and again
You didn’t give up, you didn’t give in
You didn’t let shame pull you down
You didn’t just hang up and say, “I can’t do it; it’s too hard.”
You didn’t accuse me of being too hard, no
You said, “I wanna try again.”
You got up again and again and again
You repented again and again and again
It’s all I ask of you
It’s all I ask of you
Just don’t give up
And don’t give in
If you don’t quit
You’ll live
Angels, oh angels, gather round
Angels, oh angels, look and see
Through that dark night of faith she’s still choosing me
Angels, oh angels, oh angels, gather round
As he spins around wildly rejoicing
Rejoicing
As he spins around wildly singing
She said yes
He said yes
She said yes
He said yes
He said yes
Again and again and again and again and again
He chosehumility when he was overlooked
He chose humility when he was misunderstood
He chose humility when he was falsely accused
She chose humility when she was disappointed
She said no to bitterness
And when she was so afraid, she got up again
Look, angels, look
Angels, angels, angels, look and see
Oh, the way they move me
Tell them the way they move me
Hephzibah
Beulah
Tell them the way they move me
Hephzibah
Beulah
My delight is in you
I’m married to you
It’s more than just mercy
You’re not a project to make me look good
There’s more than only mercy working here
I don’t just feel sorry for you
I want you
I want you
I want you
I want you
I want you
You’ve ravished me
You’ve ravished my heart
I want you
I want you
I love you
I like you
I delight in you
You’re the object of my affection
You’re the center of my world
You are the apple of my eye
There’s more than just pity
You are the apple of my eye
You’re the center of my world
You’re the only one
You’re the favorite one
Who is this who’s beautiful as Tirzah
Lovely as Jerusalem
Awesome as an army with banners?
Turn your eye away
Your eye has overwhelmed me
Who is this?
Beautiful as Tirzah
Lovely as Jerusalem
Awesome as an army with banners
I see strength in you
You see your weakness
I see strength in you
I know the end from the beginning
I know where this thing is going
You do love me
I know you love me
I know you love me even more than you know you love me
I know you love me
And I was not surprised by you
Oh, no, no, no, no, no
I knew what I was getting into when I called you
And still I called you
I knew what I was getting into when I beckoned you
And still I’m beckoning today
I knew what I was getting into
And I knew this would work in you humility
And humility is of greater value to me than even your perfection right now
Humility is the only way to perfection anyway
I knew what I was getting into when I called you
Still I call you
And I am not shocked by you
I’m not disgusted, no
Quite the opposite
You’ve ravished me
You’ve ravished me
Oh
Will you marry me?
Will you take my name?
And all that’s yours will be mine
And all that’s mine is yours
Will you marry me?
Will you take my name?
And all that’s yours is mine
And all that’s mine is yours
It’s yours

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
–Philippians 1:6 ESV

Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
–Isaiah 46:10 ESV

You are beautiful as Tirzah, my love,
lovely as Jerusalem,
awesome as an army with banners.
Turn away your eyes from me,
for they overwhelm me
–Song of Songs 6:4 ESV

You have captivated [ravished] my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.
–Song of Songs 4:9 ESV

Behold, you are fair, my love; behold, you are fair; you have doves’ eyes.
–Song of Songs 1:15 AKJV
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
–Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” [Hebrew: Hephzibah] and “The Bride of God,” [Hebrew: Beulah] for the LORD delights in you and will claim you as his bride.
–Isaiah 62:4 NLT

Like a young man taking a virgin as his bride, He who formed you will marry you. As a groom is delighted with his bride, so your God will delight in you.
–Isaiah 62:5 GNT

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