What Does God Get a Kick Out Of?
I live just outside downtown Los Angeles, and from my balcony I have a stunning view of the San Gabriel Mountains towering over Pasadena and other surrounding cities. I know those mountains aren’t just sitting there, maintaining their own majesty. Someone is upholding them. The question begs to be answered. Why is that Someone holding them up?
We know who is sustaining them, and everything else for that matter. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Col. 1:17). Another example comes from Hebrews: the Son “sustain[s] all things by his powerful word” (1:3). The Triune God is clearly the One who actively gives life to all things.
But why? The answer is hinted at in Psalm 104.
The Psalmist tells us that God stretches out the heavens, raises up the mountains, and makes springs burst forth for animals to drink (vv. 2, 8, 10). He sustains the birds who sing on tree branches, and the earth is satisfied with the fruit of his work (vv. 12–13). Then comes the reason. Toward the end of the Psalm, the author exclaims, “The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works” (v. 31, KJV).
Ah ha! So that’s why God sustains the planets, mountains, birds, rivers, and valleys. Because he enjoys it. He “rejoices in his works.”
Doesn’t God get bored upholding it all day after day, age after age? G. K. Chesterton answered in this way in Orthodoxy:
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we."
When we think about joy, we don’t often ponder God’s joy. What we mostly think about is our joy in God. But joy was God’s first. Jesus prayed not that we would muster our own broken joy, but that we would get in touch with his joy. He prayed, “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them” (John 17:13).
The prophets saw glimpses of the joyful God. Jeremiah said that God would “rejoice in doing them good” (32:41a). At church we sing, “God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good.” But what does that goodness look like? He isn’t just good because that’s the way an all-powerful God is supposed to be. He is good because he thoroughly enjoys doing good.
Similarly, Isaiah said that God would call his people “Hephzibah,” which means “my delight is in her,” and that he would rejoice in his creatures “as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride” (62:4, 5).
This is the joy that sustains everything. God is not just doing it because he has to. He does it because it makes his heart glad.
Dylan Demarsico is a writer based in Los Angeles, working on his master of divinity through Liberty University. You can follow him on Twitter @dylancalifornia.
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