The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph 3:17
How do we picture our Heavenly Father? This verse makes clear that, as a good father, God our Father takes delight in us. He rejoices over us with singing. That is an amazing type of love coming from the Holy One. Do you know that love of the Father? No doubt one of the reason God gives us children is to teach the fathers and mothers about his love for us. The same love we feel for them, the same delight we feel for them, he feels for us.
I still remember bringing home my first daughter from the hospital. My joy overflowed as I made up my own little ditty: Kara Lee, You belong to me, You’re pretty as you can be, You’re Kara Lee. That song came out of the overflow of a delighting heart.
But as they grow older, we can forget to delight in them. They tire us. Their sin fatigues us. The arguing or striving gets old. At that point it is easy to forget the delighting.
God has given you a unique individual made in his image. Yes, the image is broken. Yes, they bring trials. But they also bring great joy.
In Communion with the Triune God, John Owen argues that our communion with each member of the Trinity is in their love. So we know and think about God’s agape love, his self-generated love that depends not on the loveliness of the object but of the character of the lover. But Owen reminds us that God also loves us with the love of affection. God is affectionate toward us. God enjoys his fellowship with us.
As children of God and images of God to our children, we need to know and experience and share this love of affection. Your kids know that you love them. But do they know you like them? Do you like them?
Our Heavenly Father delights over you even when you are unlovely. Are you reflecting that love to your child? Study your child. Delight in their strengths. Let them know that you delight in them.
Father, I have not understood this love of affection that you have for me. Forgive me of my ignoring this great love. Help me to know it more and more. And forgive my parenting that “loves” my child without liking him or her. Help me delight over them, Show me how to express that affection for them.