Your ministry is a success, your family life brilliant, but as you try to move forward, you’ve discovered that you’ve run out of your own resources. In the midst of your stellar life, you have hit the proverbial brick wall when it comes to your most important relationship in the world. You’re spent and empty. And now, you’re facing the most hellish time one can experience on this earth—the feeling of separation from God, the most profound, faithful relationship we can have in our lifetime.
I’ve been there. And I begged God to tell me what I could do to sense his power in my life. In my case, when I had given up on hearing anything, the answer came back as a simple, “Learn to enjoy me.”
Enjoy him? I recalled the first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism.
1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
The simple answer seemed to sweep away years of accumulated brain dust. Enjoy him—because that’s the way we’ve been wired by our Creator. We are wired for happiness and the only way to be happy and fulfilled is by glorifying and enjoying God. He is the only one who can fill that void in our lives. God wants us to turn to him and enter a trust relationship with him. He knows what we need and only he can bring us to our joy-filled, eternal abiding place with and in him.
But how do we enjoy God?
We all enjoy things differently. For some, just resting in the pleasure of knowing that he loves us is enough. Others take great delight in the feelings of security in God and in the sense of his presence. I started to think about these things. The more I focused on this, the more I began to have this sense of joy. Surging through me again was this great pleasure in seeing how God affects my daily life through all its twists and turns.
I started to list all the things about God I could think of that could be enjoyed, both just meditating on them as well as in the practical living of them. As I continued to put my thoughts on paper, the list grew.
Through the recognition of God’s character and attributes, seeing how they touched my family and my life, I remembered that reveling in and celebrating God is what we’re wired for. It was so simple and so clear, yet buried away through years of committee meetings, church deadlines, and unnecessary expectations.
Just as for anyone else, enjoying God is a major part of our earthly vocation. And it’s one of the very few things that we do in life that will never pass away. The Shorter Catechism makes it clear that glorifying and enjoying God is forever. It doesn’t end with our last breath in this life; that’s just the beginning.
In Acts 16:34, we read, “The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole family.” The delirious joy they experienced came from the knowledge of who and what God was really like.
The same was true for others. Wherever the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit went in the Mediterranean world the result among the people was joy—even great joy. The more they knew about God and his plan for their lives, the greater the joy and love was shared among the new community of believers.
And it changed everything.
Do you want to claim again the fresh and living word of joy and hope for yourself? Write down the characteristics of God that impact your life and the lives of your loved ones. And then, consider what changes or decisions you think God is impressing upon you to make. Once the good news of God really sinks in, it’s impossible to remain the same. We can point others to a God of hope and light in a world that’s becoming increasingly dark.