The first few words of any story are the most delicious……because you do not know where they are going to end…” These are the opening lines of the Miss Potter movie which I have just enjoyed seeing. And what an inspirational story! Beatrix Potter was a woman who was flowing with ideas, a great story-teller and painter of little creatures in delightful and colourful clothing which made them came to life on her parchment. Then, much ahead of her time, she had the courage to follow through with her stories, to triumph over rejection from publishers and actually get them published. Her love of animals and countryside made her an avid environmentalist, ahead of her time, as well.
Miss Potter’s stories of Jemima Puddle-Duck, Peter Rabbit with Mopsy, Flopsy and Cottontail, and Hunca Munca mice stories delighted our girls as they grew up, along with thousands of other children and parents (and grandparents), I’m sure.
Well, just as we have delighted in reading these ‘delicious’ stories to our children, did you know that God delights in us as His children? In fact, when Jesus was on earth, mothers and fathers were bringing their infants and toddlers so that He might touch them. The stern disciples did their best to push them away, but Jesus’ response was instead a welcoming one, and He said “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” Perhaps Jesus sat down with them and told them a story or two? And from the intent of the verses, I take it that we are all welcomed and beckoned to Him as little children coming before, and being accepted by a very loving Father.
Aside from reading stories to our children, there is something else too that creates a joy and bonding. When our daughter, Villie, was a baby she had a lot of difficulty with breathing at times, and the only thing that would calm her was singing. I think that we practically exhausted the list of lullabies and children’s songs, but there was one all-time favourite that worked as I remember, and that was “Incey Wincey Spider…” It wasn’t really the words, but more the rhythm perhaps, and just the holding of her in our arms and singing in the old rocking chair comforting her with a sense of security and calm, until she would finally fall asleep.
Did you know that God also rejoices over us with singing? In the book of Zephaniah it says, “The Lord, your God, is in your midst…He will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing…”(Zeph ). Sometimes there are no words to express joy in something. It takes a song to be able to express love and delight, and whether His singing is literal or symbolic, the point is that God is very expressive of His love, delight and comfort toward us.
Then there is the tendency to think – that was only for them back there, I’m not good enough for God to delight in me. Well, just a quick reading of a commentary shows that actually God’s judgment was on Judah for its idolatry and neglect of Him at that time. Yet, He was speaking of restoring them, and rejoicing in their midst. Today, we are privileged to go to our Father, daily, for restoration, because Jesus has taken care of it for us, on the cross.
Just as mothers and fathers delight in their children, God so too delights in us as His children. He is very expressive of His love towards us and I hope we will look for those scriptures and be encouraged by them. I hope that you will create a very happy ending to this story, by filling your hearts and minds with the ’God’s love and delight in us’ verses. “…the Lord delights in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love…” (Psalm 147:11).