Are you glad for God’s works?

2017 sunflower

You, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy (Psalm 92:4)

There’s little that impedes life in Christ more than the inability to experience delight.  Our spirits get crusted with disappointment and jadedness, annoyance and lumps of judgmentalism.  We gaze at the world and sees nothing worthy of our interest and attention.  Nothing worthy of us.

It’s easy to fall into this sort of attitude.  The things that annoy us swell before our eyes.  We become critical and snarky and bored.

What is it that cracks our hearts open to delight?  There’s so much false delight out there that it’s hard to recognize the real deal, the high proof stuff.  We’re so easily influenced by the sugar high of fizzy and flashy that our capacities for authentic delight become dulled.

Psalm 92 points us toward a different possibility.  It’s a “Song for the Sabbath Day,” which means that it’s not a song celebrating doing and working, but rather resting and taking stock.  This is a psalm that regards in love all that God has done.  “You, O Lord, have made me glad by your work” (92:4).

What is that work that makes us glad?  It’s the usual suspects: canyons and sunsets and long stretches of sandy beach.  It’s forests and growing things and the big sky of the plains.  Most of us get that part easily enough.  But more important than the work itself is having a heart that can be made glad by God’s work.  This is a heart that approaches the world with an openness to delight.  As far as I can tell, a heart like this flows from a sense of relinquishment, from a willingness to lower our defenses and control and allow our hearts to be impressed by goodness.

A heart relinquished to God is nurtured in prayer.  It’s a heart that’s in love with God, and thus in love with God’s work.  This sort of heart doesn’t need to judge counterfeit and manipulative attempts at delight; it’s just not interested in them.  Vegas can have its fireworks and lights and spinning roulette tables.  It’s all just so much static.

The same reflex that allows us to delight in a flower is what allows us to delight in God’s work in our hearts.  We get into the habit of setting agendas and expecting God to follow them.  We want to work on some virtue or some sin or both at once, and we expect God to get in there and do the same.  Pop the hood and wrench on our clunky places.  Do this.  Fix that.  Deliver me from that.  When our lives don’t develop in the way we expect, we slip into jadedness and annoyance and judgmentalism.

But I’m convinced that delighting in God’s work in our lives requires relinquishment to God and God’s purposes.  Part of the Christian spiritual life is taking stock of what God is doing within us and giving thanks for what we see there.  This requires the sabbath disciplines of stepping back and noticing.  It requires patience and a willingness to let God set the agenda for our heart’s growth.

So what’s God doing in your life?  What rough edge is God filing?  What gift is God encouraging?  Notice it.  Delight in in.  Sing for joy at the works of God’s hands.

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