Delight in the Lord

In this season of Advent, we’re waiting for Jesus to enter into our world. Whether it is for the first time or the twentieth time, we’re waiting.

So how do we know when Jesus arrives?

Most of us won’t follow a star, or even see a bright light when it happens. It’s more subtle than that, but at the same time, so much more powerful.

We’ll know that He has arrived in our lives when our hearts start to transform into His.

Isaiah tells us what the heart of the Messiah will look like:

The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2-3)

As a spiritual director, I love showing people how they have courage they didn’t used to have when they follow a call they have heard. I am thrilled when I help them to find understanding that helps them to see the grace being given in the struggles they lay at the foot of the cross.

I treasure seeing it myself when I am frustrated and deeply hurt by something that I have been fighting for so long, and the spirit of counsel tells me to go to the daily reading where I find this:

Thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem, no more will you weep; He will be gracious to you when you cry out, as soon as he hears he will answer you…

On the day the Lord binds up the wounds of his people, he will heal the bruises left by his blows. (Isaiah 30: 19, 26b)

Wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and even fear of the Lord. This is the Spirit that we are waiting for. This is how we recognize Jesus when He comes.

Everything seems so wonderful except that last one – the Fear of the Lord. Yet, out of all of the gifts of the Spirit, that’s the one that brings delight. Fear of the Lord? That’s not the one I would have chosen.

I’ve wrestled with it for a long time, and here’s what I’ve come to realize about our delight being the fear of the Lord. I think the delight is in the understanding of how truly overwhelming our God is. Peter knew it as soon as Jesus told him to cast his nets and he caught more fish than he thought possible. He fell to his knees and asked Jesus to leave because he wasn’t worthy of being in Jesus’ presence.

Today, we so often see Jesus as a friend and buddy, and can completely miss his glory and power. Don’t be fooled. The Jesus that we are waiting for can calm storms, overpower demons, and conquer death. If we aren’t a little intimidated by that, we are being incredibly naïve.

That’s the thing, though. When we know, and I mean really know, who Jesus is, we can’t help but to be completely overwhelmed. When we see Him before us, we know that we are nothing next to Him, and yet He chooses us. He comes into our boats like Peter, knocks us over like Paul. He enters our homes, our families, and our hearts because He loves us. That’s it. Because He loves us.

I can delight in that. Anyone with me?

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Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas