A little over a year ago, we were expecting our fourth child, planning to move across the country, preparing to sell our house & figuring out how to raise our own support for the first time ever in our lives. Needless to say, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all & when I get that feeling like I could sink at any moment I often go to the psalms for comfort. The poets of the psalms have a way of calming my soul like David did for Saul with his lyre & songs.
At that moment in my life I came to Psalm 37 & found great comfort there. I read it over & over. I posted it on the wall above my kitchen sink. I prayed & meditated on it. It was a story of righteousness in the midst of difficulty, perseverance even when the odds seemed impossible, provision in time of need, encouragement to keep hope & the promise of blessing for “committing your way to the Lord”. The more time I spent with this chapter, the more I was challenged to ‘press on’ and the more puzzled I became with exactly how it should be done. My trouble came from this single verse:
It mystified me. Delight? In the midst of everything…all the trials, all the adversity, all the hardships, all the fear? When it feels like I am just getting by, making it through, keeping it together, what does it mean to ‘delight in the Lord’? I wasn’t sure I was delighting in much. “I want to know how to do that!”, I cried. Little did I know what this past year or so had in store.
A few months ago, I decided to tackle this puzzle from a fresh perspective. I pulled out my Merriam-Webster Dictionary to see how it defined delight. There it was, exactly as I expected, ‘extreme satisfaction or gratification’ with the synonyms of ‘pleasure’ or ‘treat’ listed below. Not exactly the words I would use to describe my attitude towards my life & circumstances. Well then, I guess I was NOT delighting in the Lord or much else for that matter! Thankfully, however, those were not the only words on the page as I kept on reading. There they were. The words I needed. Manna. Joy.
Manna, as you may recall, comes from the story in Exodus of the Israelites who were freed from the servitude of the egyptians to wander for 40 years in the desert. It was God’s provision for them , where there was none, so that they could thrive in a place no one would expect them to even survive. I knew the story & I knew the word but I went to Merriam-Webster anyway. I was curious. It said:
a : food miraculously supplied to the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness
b : divinely supplied spiritual nourishment
c : a usually sudden and unexpected source of gratification, pleasure, or gain
Instantly I wept. Manna. Joy. Those were not things I manufactured. They are not things that begin with me. They begin with the one who gives them… freely…that we may thrive, not just survive this life!
When my daughter, our fourth child, was born last year it was after much hardship. When my water broke at 6.5 months into my pregnancy we were faced with an uncertain number of weeks in the hospital hoping to hold off her birth. Though the odds were stacked against us, I had chosen hope, waited on God, embraced His peace instead of my fear, persevered in the midst of much difficulty, embraced thankfulness in my time of great need. I was trying to ‘trust in the Lord’ as Psalm 37 declared I should. But not until our baby was born, after 7 long weeks of waiting in the hospital, did I realize the true lesson I had been learning all this time. I was being given just what I had cried out for. It was my daughter & her amazing birth story was my lesson in delight. Her very life is God’s lesson of “sudden and unexpected source of gratification, pleasure, or gain”. His provision, entirely, ‘miraculously supplied’.
When I hold my daughter I am often reminded of that lesson. I am amazed at the One who continually provides & cares, guides & protects for our good. He does provide, not just our material needs but so much more! The very presence of my daughter, my husband & our 3 other children are an amazing gift in which I can delight. My eyes are opening to a whole new layer of beauty around me and that beauty is what my heart desires! I want to see it, I want to experience it, I want to savor it, I want to taste it… Delight.