Ever heard of the mimic octopus? If not, check out this video. There’s no doubt about it: after arctic foxes, mimic octopi may be the coolest creatures on this planet. Why do I point you to this incredible specimen of mind-bending awesomeness? Because it reminds me of something about God that I too often forget – he loves to delight, and he delights when we delight.
Sometimes I like to imagine what it was like for God to create this world. I imagine the Trinity having an internal dia/mono-logue: “Cows, chickens, dogs, and hey, why not a mimic octopus?” I imagine the mimic octopus being a “just-for-fun” creation. I’m convinced that God likes to have fun, and creatures like this remind me of that.
But more often than not, the image I carry of God is of a dour-faced old man. I struggle to believe that Jesus enjoyed a good joke, or cracked anything other than a gentle, “oh-you-silly-disciples” smile while he was on earth. Maybe I’m alone on this, but I often get caught up in my own self-imposed seriousness. Yet the reality is that joy and delight are major parts of life.
All it takes is a brief look around to see that God delights to delight. Sometimes he paints the sky with double rainbows, and other times we see his image-bearers reflecting him as they whistle a merry tune. It’s all around us, this delighting. The Father has graced us with life and he loves when we suck the marrow out of it.
Maybe we need to recapture delight in the name of Jesus. Let’s delight in the sticky gooiness of cinnamon rolls and the feel of fire on one’s stomach (really, lift up your shirt next time you’re by a camp fire and revel in the glorious warmth). And as we do, let us remember that the Spirit is right there with us, delighting in our delight.
It wouldn’t surprise me to find out Jesus laughed a lot, that he enjoyed the sound of birdsong, or even that he could freestyle rap before the genre had even been invented. That’s the kind of God we have.
Is there pain in the world? Yes, I’m all too aware of this reality as I approach the anniversary of a deeply painful experience in my own life. But does such pain mean that we can never delight again? By no means. For that is the nature of life – it brings opportunities to delight with every new day.
So this week, I challenge you, practice delighting as a spiritual discipline. Be mindful of the Father’s delight as you whistle while you work, or race a friend to finish a bowl of soup using only a fork. Such things are whimsical, silly, and might just open up a whole new way for you to think about God.