Jess Thompson is one of those people who makes you laugh hard and then slow down and sigh with relief when she preaches the Good News. You know that feeling that maybe God just tolerates you but isn’t very glad to see you? Perhaps you grew up believing He was far off, but can I tell you a good thing? He actually delights in you. Don’t believe me? Let Jess encourage your heart today. A mama and daughter, she reminds us of the beauty of everyday life and how to find Christ in the valleys and victories. It turns out, he’s right there in the middle, welcoming us in. It’s a grace to welcome Jess to the farm’s front porch today….
Guest post by Jess Thompson
We called my grandmother on my father’s side “Candy Grandma” because she gave us candy every single time we visited. She’d say hot dogs were her “favorite fruit.” When I would take my kids to visit her, I would go at times of the day when one wouldn’t typically eat a meal because I didn’t want her to go to the trouble of preparing something for us, but inevitably we would end up eating a second lunch because she insisted on “having a party.” This woman who informed and shaped me in a multitude of ways often called me Hephzibah. I had no idea what it meant at the time, and it was normal for her to make up words (Hootsycadoodle was one of her favorite expressions when she was happily surprised, for example) so I didn’t think much of it. Then one day I was reading my Bible and I came across Isaiah 62:4–5.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,
and your land Beulah;
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.
I saw the word Hephzibah, and I was astonished. There was a tiny a next to it, so I went racing down the page to find out what Hephzibah meant. At the bottom of the page was a definition that broke me and thrilled me all at once: “My delight is in her.” Every time Candy Grandma called me by this nickname she was telling me she delighted in me. To be loved so deeply by a grandparent is a wonderful gift.
“We may feel “deserted” or “desolate,” but God changes us by His wonderful love and we are called “my delight is in her.” “
You may have experienced a love like that from a grandparent and understand what I am talking about, or maybe you haven’t experienced a love like that and are grieved or even angry that you haven’t known that feeling. To those who know that love and to those who don’t, we have a God who says those words about us. His delight is in us. We may feel “deserted” or “desolate,” but God changes us by His wonderful love and we are called “my delight is in her.”
We are not alone any longer. If that truth weren’t magnificent enough, we are loved by God as a young man who marries a young woman. His love for us is consuming. His love for us gives Him delight. His love for us gives Him joy. He is a joyful God because of how He feels about you and me.
So many of us think that God is disappointed in us or that He just tolerates us. We know He loves us, but we entertain a sneaking suspicion that He loves us because He has to. These verses tell those thoughts to “Hush up” (another of Candy Grandma’s favorite sayings).
Your God rejoices over you!
My God rejoices over me.
Our God rejoices over us!
“We must choose to believe what God says, and He says He delights in us.”
How is this true? I literally shake my head in wonder over this truth. Tears well in my eyes because I just can’t believe it is true. But to my own doubt and to yours, I echo my grandma, “Hush up.”
We must choose to believe what God says, and He says He delights in us. What a tremendous sense of relief and happiness and joy that brings to my tired, anxious heart. I pray it does the same for you, filling you with the fullness of joy today. I pray that you extend that joy to everyone you encounter today.
I pray that His joy in us spills over into the whole world so we might all know the unspeakable pleasure of knowing we are delighted in because our God is just that good.
Jess Thompson lives in southern California where she is a co-host with her wildly fun family on their podcast, “Front Porch with the Fitzes” Her new book, “How God Loves Us” is a stirring devotional that show us the power of the fruit of the spirit and how God shows us his care through things like love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, and gentleness. You can find her at jessicathompson.co and on Instagram @thejesslou
(Our humble thanks to Moody Publishing for partnership in this devotional today.)