By Rev Jonny Campbell-Smyth
My seven-year-old son Nathan is passionate about football. Now when I say passionate, I mean that his life is captivated by it almost every minute of every day. If he’s not at his club, he’s at home practicing, or sitting at the computer watching YouTube clips of Ronaldo and Neymar scoring goals.
Even if there’s a balloon around the house you will hear him up and down the hallway playing ‘kicky-ups’. His devotion to the game could never be questioned. It’s not a fad, it’s not half-hearted, it’s everything to him.
As a father I am delighted in him and his passion for the thing he loves so much. I want to give him the encouragement he needs as he follows his dream. The one thing that pleases Nathan the most is to see his daddy standing on the sidelines watching him play, cheering him on. If he can’t see me he becomes agitated and distracted in his game. He wants to please me. Every child is the same. But the truth is that I love him all the same. When he scores a goal I cheer with delight. When he has a bad day I hug him and tell him how amazing he was.
All of this reminds me of my Father God and his delight and love for his children. God wants nothing more than a deep and intimate relationship with his children. He is delighted when we choose him to be a part of our lives, in the good and bad times. But his deepest desire is to pour love over his children.
There was a prophet in the Old Testament called Zephaniah who lived about 600 years before Jesus, and he made an amazing statement about the Father’s love for his people. He said this: “[God] happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy.” When we look at the original Hebrew words, it can be translated that God dances, skips, leaps and spins around with joy over us. He loves us that much.
I think it’s hard in our society today to believe that God loves us that much; that God cares for us; that God treasures us and that God is concerned about EVERY detail of our lives. In the depth of our hearts we have failed to believe that God really loves us. Yet Zephaniah declares a breathtaking truth for us today.
As I delight as a father in watching my seven-year-old follow his dreams, may you know today that your Father God delights over your own journey, and wants to be a part of it, cheering you on.