Posted: 3/31/17 at 6:10pm. Column by Ed Jordan.
Think for a moment of the last time you were delighted by someone or something. Reflect on that memory. What was it that moved your experience from duty to delight? Or from curiosity to delight? Sometimes we think of fun experiences as delightful. Are fun and delight synonyms, or is delight something more than fun?
Last weekend we enjoyed an Andre Rieu concert at our church. There is often a time in his concerts when balloons are released from the ceiling and float down on the audience, and people laugh and start batting the balloons all around.
At that point in the concert, my wife and I began throwing balloons into the audience in the darkened auditorium. As the balloons first flew into their sight the people were a little startled, for they really didn’t expect to experience what was happening on the screen. But instantly they began to bat the balloons up and back and forward and sideways, towards where other people were seated.
It was a spontaneous time that began when we all forgot that we were too old to play with balloons and let loose of our sophisticated adult lives to enjoy the fun and delight of balloons floating in the air. People were moving up and down the pews relaunching balloons and letting them fly all around. There was laughter, joy, giggles, and sharing of the music and balloons. It was delightful—a time full of delight.
Delight often begins by being surprised by joy! It is something wonderful and beautiful that exceeds our expectations and frees us from our boring, settled habitual reactions to a predictable circumstance by initiating and unleashing a childlike, playful response. When delight is happening among a group of people, there is freedom to express joy.
I believe that delight is also the feeling we get when we experience something that turns our thoughts and feelings towards wonder. There is an awareness of the awesomeness of God in things that we have not noticed before.
Do you remember the wonder you had as a child as you took a dandelion puffball, held it in front of your mouth, and watched the little fuzzy seeds take flight from your breath to be carried away with the wind? You couldn’t do it just one time; you had to find another puff ball and lightly blow on it until the seeds took flight.
Wonder! Awe! God! Innately in that experience you sensed design and delight. How could such an amazing thing come from a little flower/weed growing in the grass? It was a surprise from God! It was a manifestation of the awesomeness of God, which caught us suddenly by surprise and raised our eyes to the skies as we tried to see the seeds flying.
Delight is a hard thing to define, but we recognize it when it happens, bursts within, and emotes out of us. It is something found in the humility of children, who don’t think they already know everything, who are on a quest to learn and grow, and explore God’s creation.
In Psalm 37:3-4 we are told that delight is something that God wants us to experience, and that He is the ultimate source and sustainer of delight. In Psalm 37:4 (NASB95) we read: “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”
We are to seek God, to delight in God, and to experience the delight of living in relationship with God. As we delight ourselves in God, He gives our hearts desires that lead us to experience more of God’s awesomeness and to surprises which lead us to more delight and joy.
I wonder how our lives would change if each day we asked God to surprise us with something delightful that reveals the awesomeness of God. Consider how our church experiences might change if we came to church wanting to find delight and joy in God instead of thinking of church as just a habitual event.
If our lives have become delight-free zones, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We can choose to delight ourselves in the Lord, and frequently experience surprise encounters with God that produce delight within us which comes out in our lives.
Or, we can yawn, complain, and miss out on God and delight. I think it is time for most of us to choose to delight ourselves in the Lord and experience God, joy, and life in a new way.