“He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
When it comes to relationships, I’ve faced many personal disappointments in my life because of unmet expectations – unmet expectations in the areas of conversation, appreciation, encouragement, affection, intimacy…I can recall too many memories where I ended up feeling emotionally crushed because I hadn’t received the attention and affection I felt I deserved or needed at the time. I’m not just talking about romantic relationships either. These include the relationships with my parents, siblings, close friends, church family, relatives, and of course, the romantic ones too. I don’t think I’ve ever received the “celebration of myself” that my heart and self esteem thought they needed at the time – leaving me in the end, to feel hopeless, worthless, unappreciated. The enemy of my soul tried to use each unmet expectation in my life and redefine it as my overall worth. I struggled with this for thirty-seven years.
You can only begin to imagine the tremendous amount of abandonment I felt during the times in my life where I experienced personal failures. I mean, to already expect cartwheels and fireworks during the achievements in my life I felt were worthy of celebration, and find myself at the end of a lofty idea that was never to become a reality – these times were hard enough. But, the enemy took every failure that I made and amplified the magnitude of it under his microscope of lies and deceit. He used the disappointment of everyone I found my self worth and value from at that time to prove how big of an embarrassment I was to the world, possibly to even the KINGDOM OF GOD. If I Couldn’t get my loved one’s approval when I was trying, then I’d certainly never get it when I began to struggle and make mistakes like every other human on the face of the planet is prone to doing!
The BOOK OF ZEPHANIAH reveals the prophecy of a nation who felt very much like I did. Even at its best, it still wasn’t measuring up to GOD’S expectations, but at this point, it hasn’t even come close to GOD’S best. The nation of Israel faces THE FATHER’S judgment and wrath. And as deserved, they are foretold of its coming. But at the end of the recourse and demonstration of the depths of the consequences Israel is about to face for its rebellion, Zephaniah calls out to GOD’S remnant…a few CHOSEN…stuck right in the middle of a nation that is about to be destroyed. Through Zephaniah, GOD encourages HIS people with THE PROMISE of HIS FAITHFULNESS. After a cry of repentance, HE promises HIS restoration to HIS children. And looking beyond all of their present failures, HE says, “THE LORD YOUR GOD in your midst, THE MIGHTY ONE, will save; HE will quiet you with HIS love; HE will rejoice over you with singing.”
Wow!!! I don’t think I could have ever described more perfectly, what I have wanted to hear someone say to me my whole life –
“Joyelle, wait for ME, honey. I know it looks bad; it might even get worse – but I will be faithful. I see your failures. I have heard your repentance – don’t be ashamed anymore. Sing. Joyelle. Be who I designed you to be. Shine, Joyelle. You will no longer be judged by man. I AM here now; you have MY utter and complete attention. You don’t have to try and measure up to receive MY favor because it already rests upon you, child. I have watched you – every moment of your life – even the small incidental seconds. MY eyes haven’t missed a single one. Every time you felt you missed the mark – I saw it. Every time your goodness was overlooked but your bad deeds were amplified – I saw that too. You are MY daughter because I called you forth in your mother’s womb. I AM rejoicing over you.”
“You, Joyelle. I AM glad over you.”
Broken. I don’t understand how, GOD. I’ve failed so many…
“Joyelle, rest in MY arms. Let ME quiet you with MY LOVE. You will never want for the affection of anyone else, ever again. Listen, MY daughter; I wrote you a song.”
I think I have come to understand that man will never be able to clap loud enough for me when I think I’ve just given the most deserving of performances. My husband is never gonna flip cartwheels because I managed not to spend the entire $100 bill. I will never measure up to my earthly father’s expectations, nor will I ever sit on his lap as I had hoped, and hear him tell me how much he loves me. But, I have something of greater significance. I have the uninterrupted attention and eternal gaze of THE CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE. GOD’S EYES are fixed on me; HE sees me for who I was; who I am; who I am going to be. HE has taken record of every accomplishment, and HE knows about the failures I haven’t even made yet. Still, HE is rejoicing over me – there is a celebration in HEAVEN – thrown by THE KING OF KINGS. Every time HE IS ABLE to look at me accomplishing THE WILL HE PURPOSED – HE sings!
My heart can no longer be stirred with emptiness and disappointment. I am forever quieted by MY DADDY’S LOVE!
I’ve wrestled with myself all day, unaware of HIS affection,
feeling myself slip away, forgetting the connection –
between the love THE FATHER gave to me when HE sent HIS ONLY SON,
and the power that HE has to not just change my life, but the lives of everyone.
At just the point of breaking,
I come to realize within my heart
that ABBA can handle anything,
if I’d just give it to HIM from the start.
Instead of trying to handle things on just my useless, selfish merit –
I’d give it to the KING OF KINGS and find that I inherit
not only HIS delight in me, but also HIS compassion –
for my very life that is in HIS hands – the life that HE has fashioned.
You see, THE CREATOR had this day in mind
when HE formed me from the dirt;
HE knew the exact plans HE had for me;
HE knew exactly what I was worth.
HE knew the price HE would have to pay for me,
and saw that CHRIST was fit
to pay the price of all my sin
and redeem me from all of it.
MY DADDY truly delights in me;
You see, HE sees me through HIS SON –
and through the blood that HE shed for me
when paying the price for what I had done.
How can THE FATHER be satisfied with the child that HE’S created?
How can a child live up to all that the FATHER has anticipated?
How can our lives dance before HIM in such a way that it causes HIM to sing?
How can we share the pain or help alleviate the sting
of the punishment CHRIST paid for us when HE died upon the cross –
to save our souls from dying and save those who are lost?
THE ANSWER is so easy,
yet not as simple for you to do –
let JESUS be your SAVIOUR,
and HIS LIFE will transform you.
Let HIM change everything –
your actions, words, and deeds – saturated in HIS love.
Depend on FATHER GOD
and HIS storehouse from above.
Sit before HIS presence
when you’re thirsty, hungry, or just sad;
sit before the KING OF KINGS,
and HE will make you glad,
as HE quiets you with HIS abundance,
you will hear THE CREATOR singing,
as HE rejoices over you,
even the angels’ wings will be ringing –
up in HEAVEN as HE celebrates
the creation that HE has made,
all because we have chosen not to take for granted
the price that HE has paid.