In an earlier blog The heart of God I looked at the relationship in God between the Father and Son, not the quiet serenity I expected, but sheer exuberant joy and delight. In Prov 8:30 we get a picture of Christ before the creation of the world, saying of the Father: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always.
What I realised after I wrote that is astounding. This is the very relationship God welcomes us into through Jesus. John 17:21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
I’d understood since I was a young Christian that I was accepted in God through Christ. I knew that I was loved and welcomed. And this was very important to me as I struggled with Chronic Fatigue, to realise again that my relationship with God didn’t depend on anything I was able, or rather unable to do. I was a child of God through Christ’s death on the cross, nothing of my own efforts or achievements would add or take away from that. Now as children of God, his Spirit is working in us, transforming us to be more like Jesus, but our acceptance as his children is total and complete.
But God the Father doesn’t just welcome and accept us, he delights in us with the same wild exuberant joy he delights in Christ. Of course it was there in the bible all along, I’d sung the chorus enough times: Zeph 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
And yet thinking about all this, I had to ask, how can God rejoice over us as he looks on the mess, the pain and sin of our daily lives and relationships?
Our relationship with God is founded on Christ’s death on the cross, we keep having to keep going back there. Jesus didn’t just bear our sins there he bore our sorrows and pains too. Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. When we are struggling with hurt and pain with circumstances we cannot bear, we go back to the cross to find Christ bearing it all for us, and with us. God can rejoice over us with pure delight because he has met us in Christ at the cross to bear all our sins and grief.