We all respond with happiness when certain things happen. For some it’s bumping unexpectedly into a friend whom we haven’t seen for awhile. For others it might be receiving a simple gesture of kindness, like an invitation to come for coffee, a box of candy, or just a day out browsing the stores with friends, or taking a walk in the countryside.
For me, it’s spontaneous responses from my canine friends. For example, just this morning I was taking a friend’s dogs to the park to play ball. One dog was in the backseat while the other one was in the passenger seat next to me. As we were riding along, I suddenly felt the lightness of the front seat dog as she slipped onto my lap and lay there until we reached our destination. I had lay my hand on her. When we came to a stop I glanced down to find her staring up at me with a look of what I define as sweet adoration. My heart soared. “I love you, too, Tilly,” I said while sticking my other arm to the back, feeling for the other dog. “I love you, too, Poppy,” who licked my hand as she began to prance about in anticipation of the ball game to come.
That happiness of this morning has lasted even until now as I sit typing out the story. That’s when the reminder came to me about how I respond to my Heavenly Father. If I get all glowing and overcome with tenderness in response to a dog’s love, how much more must my Father be glowing when I crawl into His lap of love, just because I want to, and let Him know that I love Him.
Have you ever wondered why we are instructed to give praise to God? Is it because of some ego trip of God to be so adored? Of course not; it’s for our need, as much as for His delight. When we take time to enter into His presence with praises and words of love and appreciation, it strengthens our own resolve, puts our thoughts and understanding into proper perspective, and fills us with peace and joy that is so vast it cannot be measured. Praising God is an absolute delight to Him, but it is a tremendous joy builder for us, too.
When we praise Him when we are sad, downcast spirits are lifted. When we praise Him when we are glad, our joy buckets are so filled they overflow into that “peace that passes understanding.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Just as I adored those little dogs showing affection to me, our Father cherishes our love shown to Him, but the joy He receives is bounced right back to us to overflowing. Taking time to praise our Heavenly Father is always a peace and joy builder; always, without exception.
“I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things You have done. I will be filled with Joy because of You. I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1-2