We had a blast this past Labor Day taking advantage of Pennsylvania’s license-free fishing day. I was able to take Caleb out for his first fishing adventure—and Mom came along too for the fun—she definitely got the gold star for the day as she cheerfully made it through the spotty rain, dirty worms and slimy fish–all while being 32 weeks pregnant! I didn’t actually wet a line of my own on this trip but I was so thankful to have my wife and son with me that I didn’t even notice. And Caleb actually caught his first fish, which we got a good pic of for posterity—and for my desk at work.
I got to enjoy observing my 2 year-old son do the normal things 2 year-old boys do while “fishing” (trying to walk off the boat dock, throwing his hat in the water a couple of times, enjoying holding the worms dad was trying to get on the hook, even tossing his fishing pole in once—which Dad almost fell in to retrieve, etc.) and I remembered the many times my dad bravely took me and other siblings out in a rowboat to teach us fishing lessons. It was great to feel the happiness in my heart as I heard Caleb say, “Fun!” as we sat on the dock intently watching our bobbers for a sunfish’s nibble.
As I was reflecting on that thankful pleasure I felt as a father and husband to see my family happy, I thought of my Heavenly Father and how He receives joy in seeing His children happy. According to the Psalmist, “God delights in the welfare of his servant,” (Ps. 35:27), “God takes pleasure in those who fear him and who trust in His love” (Ps. 141:11), and “God takes pleasure in His people” (Ps. 149:4). Revelation 4:11 says that we were created for God’s pleasure. Jude 24 tells us that God takes pleasure in presenting us “blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy.”
God delights for His children’s joy to be full and overflowing! (John 15:10-11)
Jesus told His disciples in John 15:10-11 that God’s desire was for their love for Him to abide in His love and thus experience all the fulness of true joy and satisfaction. What a joy it was for me to see the sweet smile of satisfaction on my son’s face as he proudly held his first fish!
And how much more joy does our Heavenly Father experience when He sees His children walking in truth and finding their complete satisfaction in His presence and grace?
My prayer for Caleb (and for his brother on the way) is that they will be changed by God’s grace to love Him with their whole being. As John wrote, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4).
As we think of our Savior Jesus Christ, Who loves His Church so much that He was willing to die for them, Peter’s words ring true in our hearts: “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).
O that we would realize how much God wants us to find our joy and delight in Him alone! If only I remembered that more my life would be less cumbered about with trying to find temporary joy and passing delights in the things of this world. As the hymn chorus goes,
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Only in Jesus can we find grace and light. Only in Jesus can we find perfect and eternal joy–and He rejoices with great joy when we find the essence of joy, true satisfaction and reality in Him.