Years ago I heard bible teacher & author, Beth Moore, say that she often prays & asks the Lord to “delight her soul” when she is on a walk or spending time in nature. I hadn’t heard anyone pray something like that before - to boldly ask God to bless them with an experience that would be delightful, beautiful or inspiring - and just because! (I thought all prayer had to be centered around serving God & others, sharing my faith, meeting a practical or spiritual need, or something that was obviously “gospel-related.”)
After I started praying that prayer - usually when on a leisurely walk, spending time in nature, or on vacation - I noticed God showing me signs of his beauty & creativity all around me. Maybe it was always there and I just didn’t notice it before - or maybe I hadn’t given myself permission to enjoy God’s gifts in that way before.
To me it seemed clear he was answering my specific requests because I felt such delight arise within me.
It became a way to notice & enjoy God's presence with me, to receive & revel in the personal ways He was responding to me. Others may have thought these experiences to be small & insignificant, but to me, they felt really big. I felt seen and known in a special way.
This morning was one of those times. We were out of town for my son’s travel soccer tournament and had to get up super early to drive to one of his games. We drove a half hour from our hotel to an outdoor park with lots of grassy fields, dotted with white soccer goals standing at attention. I felt barely awake, and was complaining under my breath about the early morning dew on the grass that was making my shoes & socks (and feet) cold and wet. No matter how carefully I walked through the grass, the wetness clinging to those thousands of blades of grass just seemed to soak deeper into the fabric of my Adidas gym shoes.
Then I looked up and saw it - a scene that lifted my soul and drew me in with wonder. A lone sunflower had grown straight & upright in the middle of a nearby field, and its yellow petals were beginning to glow in the light of the sun’s early morning rays. I had to get closer to take a photo.
At that point I didn’t care about my wet shoes or feet. I slowly walked to the part of the field where this one sunflower rose tall - towering mysteriously above the grasses and brush surrounding it. The light cascaded around it, giving it a shimmery silhouette while everything else remained shaded.
Then I noticed a smaller sunflower in full bloom, peeking through the grass right beside it. These two sunflowers were not intentionally planted, they had risen from a heap of cast-away plants and sticks, defiantly thriving in this unlikely patch of debris.
I sensed a story forming - one that might express how God causes life & beauty to grow out of a forgotten pile of dried weeds and dead wood, despite the odds, ready to show its glory to the sun and sky overlooking from above. A simple beauty flourishing in the light, whether or not any human ever passed by to see it.
But I got to see it. To notice it. To enjoy it. To relish in it. To experience wonder and awe for a few moments in an unexpected setting of dewy grass, soccer goals, and sleepiness.
These encounters that seem special-made for my heart are a reminder that He treasures the beauty of His creation - and loves to share it.
What delights your soul? Have you had an experience lately where you felt wonder, peace, joy, or celebration? How might God be inviting you to enjoy His treasures today?
For further reflection, perhaps take some time to read and contemplate Psalm 37:4, "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (NIV)
My prayer is that God will bless you with an awareness of His love for you, in the special and unique ways that matter to your heart & soul.