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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Mary C. Earle

Thursday, April 30

Take delight in the Lord,
And he shall give you your heart’s desire.
—Psalm 37:1

Once when I was leading a class on the psalms, a wise older woman said of this line from Psalm 37, “We don’t take much delight in God, do we?” That provoked a long conversation among the class members.

They surfaced this awareness: Because they tended to have an image of God as taskmaster or accountant or demanding parent, delight was not something that occurred to them. So they challenged each other to start taking delight in the Lord. This particular group had been together long enough that a fair amount of honesty was possible. Saccharine or sentimental parodies of delight were not permitted.

They took delight in the sometimes gritty details of their day- to-day lives, and the ways in which God’s presence became known to them in those details. One man took delight in the fact of new treatment for his diabetes. A younger woman took delight in the fact that she had raised her children to the age of their all being in elementary school, so she now had some time for her own interests.

I pushed them to reflect on how that delight was related to God. How was it possible that God was present in the new treatment for diabetes? What was intimated about God’s presence and work through the labor of nurturing children? 

We live in a culture that is saturated with news of what is wrong. While we may need to know some of that, and we may need to act to redress wrong, we also need to take note—careful and deliberate note—of what is good and beautiful, what offers delight.
Making that part of our regular practice of attention and awareness restores our vision. As someone has said, “How we see shapes what we see.” As a corollary I propose that how we see God shapes what we see of God.

What if God and delight are partnered in your attention and your awareness? What if you begin noticing what delights your heart and quickens your spirit? Begin by simply recognizing delight. Allow the possibility for a spirituality that includes delight as well as sorrow, joy as well as sacrifice, bounty as well as sharing, life as well as death.

May I take delight in you, the Creator of delight and the Author of joy. Amen.