Here are two of my favorite verses in the Hebrew scriptures:

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

— Psalm 37:4

The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

— Zephaniah 3:17

I don’t know about you, but in all my experience growing up in a stick-in-the-mud Lutheran Church no one ever suggested to me that spirituality is all about God taking delight in us, and inviting us to do the same in response. How might our children’s experience of religion be different, if this were the central message they got when they went to church?

I’ve quoted these passages from the New International Version because in that translation they both use the English word “delight” — but other translations convey the same spirit, if not the exact same wording. Joy and rejoicing… favor…. jubilation… exulting. Wow. God exults over us, God rejoices in us, God is passionately into us. Which is, of course, what Julian of Norwich kept saying.

Now, if only I can remember this when I’m stuck in Atlanta traffic!


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About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.