The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.
Have you ever not wanted to go somewhere alone? You know, like the movies, a coffee shop, a new support group, a workout? I have! Oh, don’t get me wrong, there are times when being alone is just what I need, but there are many other times when I just want someone with me. You know what I mean?
Having someone with you in those moments takes the edge off whatever event or appointment you need to attend. Even though you know you must go to that doctor’s appointment, support group, or therapy session to rehabilitate a broken ankle, you still would rather not go it alone. That’s where Jesus comes in.
Jesus is always willing and wants to be with us. He is with us even when we try to push him away! Liken this to when your three-year-old doesn’t want you to hold his hand as he climbs the steps up the slide, which suddenly seems a lot longer and bigger now that you are not holding his hand. We parents do our best to pretend we are not going to help him, because he asked us not to. But we are there, waiting expectantly just in case they falter. At a moment’s notice, if they miss that next giant step up that ladder; one slip, one yelp, and we are there! That is what the Lord does only so much better. He is always with us, easing the task at hand, ready to catch us when we stumble. He is there, cheering us on as we climb each new ladder in our life.
No matter how wobbly our child seems as he climbs those steps on the slide, we never focus on that, do we? Instead, we focus on the fact they made it up to the top of the slide all by themselves (maybe with a subtle lending hand from us; we don’t make it without help from Jesus either) and slid down! We cheer our kids on, “Way to go! I knew you could do it! Hurray!”
That is what Jesus does for each and every one of us. He takes delight (is pleased, captivated, thrilled, great pleasure) in you, in me! He is not looking to rebuke us but to rejoice over us and cheer, “Way to go! You got this! Hurray!”
As we continue to fast we sometimes feel like we are never going to make it to the top because we slipped up on a step or two. I want to remind you: the LORD is with you! You are never alone, your mighty warrior is there, picking you up when you miss a step, rejoicing over your bravery in taking the next one. So if you feel like you’ve missed a step or two on this fasting journey, remember your almighty warrior is here, eager to help you get up and take the next step forward. When you do, He takes great delight over you making the step up, exclaiming, “Way to go!”
It is not finishing first that matters; but that we simply finish!