Joy In the Presence of God

…you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you… - Isaiah 43:4

After dropping Avery to school last year, I got in my car and began to drive home along the street bordering the school’s playground. Whenever I drive by during recess, I scan the playground for my daughters. Sometimes I find them playing with friends, sometimes I don’t. But this day, as I drove slowly, I saw Ella sitting right on the other side of the fence, playing in the dirt with a friend.

I rolled my passenger window down and shouted, “Ella!”

When she saw me, she popped up from where she sat and began running along the fence, joy upon her face, trying to keep up with my car. There were cars behind me, so I couldn’t go too slow, but she kept up, running her little heart out for the chance to simply be with her mommy. We weren’t able to talk, we weren’t able to be side-by-side, but still, I could see and feel her heart filled with joy, just given the chance to see me.

Soon, after running the length of the playground, she came to its edge. Ella stopped and waved, smiling the biggest smile her little face could hold.

“I love you,” I yelled as we both waved until we could see each other no longer.

My eyes welled with tears as the beauty of the moment settled into my heart, and it got me thinking. This is what God wants from us. Our hearts. This is all He wants from us. He doesn’t expect us to perform. He doesn’t expect perfection, but instead, He wants us.

When asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…”(Matthew 22:36-37, emphasis mine). He wants our love. He wants us to overflow with peace, joy, and love upon coming into His presence.

This is precisely why sin breaks God’s heart. Sin pulls our hearts away from Him.

We are loved by our Father in Heaven with an unfathomable love. He chooses us. He loves us. He reconciled us to Himself through Jesus’ death so we might expereince a relationship with Him much like the one I just experience with Ella, though greater in every way. And when we come to Him, I believe He too, is overcome with joy, for it is then that we are in the place we were created to be.

Today, let us come to Him joyfully to experience our relationship in a new, deeper way motivated by this love.