As I hugged Carolyn and RJ, I had a flashback to the day Carolyn was born. We didn’t have an ultrasound while Margaret was pregnant, so we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl until Carolyn was born. I was convinced, for some reason, that we would have a son, but God gave us a daughter. Margaret and I laughed and cried and held that precious baby girl, then I was sent home to get some sleep (Carolyn was born at 5 in the morning). But I couldn’t sleep. I was full of questions: How do I raise a little girl? What will she be when she grows up? Should she play violin or French horn? I thought she was the most beautiful baby ever born and was quite certain I would be attending Miss America pageants and fending off suitors with my shot gun. How will I protect her? I was full of fears even as I was full of joy and delight.
Since I couldn’t sleep, I got dressed and went back to the hospital to be with Margaret and Carolyn. When I told Margaret what I had been thinking, she said, “Will you relax? She’s not even one day old!”
God has taught me a lot about His love for me through my children and I am thrilled to know God will now teach my daughter and son-in-law something more about his love for them by allowing them to delight in a newborn baby and to be parents.
One of the most amazing statements about God’s love is in Zephaniah: “The LORD your God in the midst of you is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy, he will rest in his love; he will joy over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). In his book, Communion With the Triune God, John Owen says for God to rest in his love for you describes an intense “inward affection of the mind [and] joy of heart”. For God to “joy over you with singing” is “to exult in outward demonstration of internal delight and joy.” He says the Latin translation of the Hebrew word means “to leap, as men overcome with some joyful surprise. And therefore God is said to do this…with a joyful sound, or singing.”
Can you believe God’s love for you is like that? God takes the greatest possible delight in you, the kind of delight a mother or father feel when they hold their newborn baby. When you think God is angry with you or that He just barely tolerates you, you’re not very motivated to draw close to him. But when you are convinced God loves you, delights in you and sings over you, that changes everything!
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…(Romans 8:15-17a).
This is the truth presented in the Bible: God the Father loved us and sent His Son to redeem us. Christ loved us and gave Himself for us! And God the Holy Spirit works to convince us of God’s love that we might love Him in response and find our greatest delight and joy in Him.