I’m at home in the middle of a two-week staycation vacation, with a visit from two little guys, Sam and Jeff, and one former little girl, Caitlin. The only thing I want to do is relax with them and enjoy their company. We’re playing and going to the beach and having ice cream for breakfast [since they missed Valentine’s Day here] and roasting marshmallows and going to the forest and amusement parks and the circus and having a special time on Skype with Lucy.
Having fun, relaxing, enjoying each other–just like spending time with God, right? Except too often for me ‘enjoying God’ sounds like an oxymoron. I fall into thinking that being with my Heavenly Father is something I ought/must/should do. I know I’m supposed to obey, listen, work, follow, share, trust, study, pray. But enjoy God? Have fun with Him? It sound vaguely heretical. But it’s not.
Back in the 1640s, a group of English and Scottish pastors got together and wrote down the basics of belief in the triune God in the Westminster Confession of Faith. They also wrote the Westminster Catechism, a summary of what people who follow Jesus need to be taught, in the form of questions and answers from the Bible. [They wrote a long version of 196 questions and a short version of 107 questions.]
And what do you think the very first question, the foundation, the start, the most important aspect they came up with was?
Sin? Jesus? Judgment? Wrath? Heaven? Adam and Eve? God’s holiness? God’s perfection? God’s power?
No, the very first question is about enjoying God.
“Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?
Answer: Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.”
I find it amazing that the reason God created me was not to have a slave, or a servant, but someone to bring Him glory and to enjoy Him [including His love, His joy, His pleasure, His rest, His justice, His righteousness, His freedom, His power…to name a few aspects].
Sometimes enjoying another person happens on the fly, in a spontaneous burst of pleasure–something along the lines of “Hey, today’s the last day for the circus. Let’s go.” And sometimes, it’s nice to prepare for a special time–like we set the table for a special meal, get dressed up for a special night out, buy a kite to fly at the beach, or block out a whole day to be together.
So how do I enjoy God? Is there just one way to be with Him [something along the lines of pray and read the Bible?] Paul Simon wrote a song about 50 ways to leave your lover. Wallace Stevens wrote a poem about 13 ways of looking at a blackbird. As I’ve thought about it, I’ve come up with about ten ways to enjoy God that I want to explore in the weeks to come.
The first [and perhaps the easiest when family is visiting and I don’t have a lot of free time] is something I posted about last summer: enjoying His sudden displays of brilliance, those patches of Godlight that are like sunbeams leading me back up to the sun. It’s like a treasure hunt to see where I can find the touch of God in my day, like the excitement of a three-year old going on a roller coaster for the first time, and the giggles of a nine-month old, things that remind me of the gift of life God has given me to enjoy. What are your patches of Godlight today?
You have made known to me the path of life;
You will fill me with joy in Your presence,
with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.