October 28, 2016 is a date that I will likely remember for years. I had always had a nagging suspicion, but it was on that day that I knew, for sure, that I totally sucked. I was sitting in my car after dropping my three year old, Ryder, off at preschool. Now, according to the date, it was NOT Halloween. But was there costume party at school? You bet your Queen Elsa wig there was. And I had just dropped off my son, costume-less and desperately human in a room full of Iron Men, pirates and dinosaurs. The look he gave me when we opened the door to his class will be seared into my brain forever. He wasn’t even angry; he was just…heartbroken. He didn’t sob or tantrum. Two colossal tears rolled quietly down from each of his wide, brown eyes as he looked at me despairingly. I told him I was so very sorry, hugged him, and left. So there I was in my car, (to return to my original point), suddenly aware that I sucked. Was this going to traumatize him forever? Surely no. Would he punish me for it later? No, that wasn’t his style. But was I going to go back home to get that costume for him? You bet your ass I was. Why? Because I love my son, and his joy matters to me.
I have heard it said, in defense of God allowing sorrow and suffering in the world, that our happiness is not a priority or a promise in this life. We will see bliss in the next age, but not in this one, so point your boat, not towards comfort, but towards truth alone. I can understand where this line of thought gets its charge; prioritizing pleasure and “happiness” frequently results in ruin. But I humbly submit to you, that often we throw the baby out with the suds here…for there is boundless biblical proof that our delight is significant to the One who guides our course.
The second chapter of John recounts a small wedding at Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle. This was the first blazing pitch of a season-opener. I probably would’ve busted out the raising of Lazarus first, but it’s good I’m not Jesus, because (not to belabor the point) I suck. But instead, he decides to bless these nameless newlyweds. It almost sounds like an oddly trivial miracle, until we imagine that these are our children on their wedding day. Jesus tenderly rescues their reputations, without them even knowing it. He provides, not just wine, but Rothschild-esque, mind blowing, wine! Why? To give his children joy. Because that is what a father does. That is what OUR Father does. I wonder how often we don’t make known desires in fear that they are too negligible for the Almighty. But he wants to bless his children. He wants to see you with shining eyes, like Ryder, standing there as Buzz Light-year, in all his (crooked) winged glory. “In this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” Be of good cheer…for like the newlyweds at Cana, your joy matters to the King.