In a study I'm leading at our church, we just finished a section on the disciplines of “slowing down” and “celebrating.” It is impossible to know God if we do not understand this principle: God is the most joyful being in the entire universe. And God created everything with joy and satisfaction, calling it “very good.” By way of contrast, John Ortberg in The Life You’ve Always Wanted offers this alternate rendering of the creation story in Genesis 1:
In the beginning, it was nine o’clock, so God had to go to work. He filled out a requisition to separate light from darkness. He considered making stars to beautify the night, and planets to fill the skies, but thought it sounded like too much work; and besides, thought God, “That’s not my job.” So he decided to knock off early and call it a day. And he looked at what he had done and he said, “It’ll have to do.”
On the second day God separated the waters from the dry land. And he made all the dry land flat, plain, and functional, so that—behold—the whole earth looked like Idaho. He thought about making mountains and valleys and glaciers and jungles and forests, but he decided it wouldn’t be worth the effort. And God looked at what he had done that day and said, “It’ll have to do.”
And God made a pigeon to fly in the air, and a carp to swim in the waters, and a cat to creep upon dry ground. And God thought about making millions of other species of all sizes and shapes and colors, but he couldn’t drum up any enthusiasm for any other animals—in fact, he wasn’t too crazy about the cat. Besides, it was almost time for the Late Show. So God looked at all he had done, and God said, “It’ll have to do.”
And at the end of the week, God was seriously burned out. So he breathed a big sigh of relief and said, “Thank Me, it’s Friday.”
Thankfully, this is not how the story goes. God sings and dances over his creation, over you. He delights in you and has wonderful purpose for you. But we must slow down and listen to God and to those around us. We must enter into the celebratory dance of life. There, we will begin to find the joy that is much deeper than giddiness and silliness. Because there, we will find Jesus, whose dying wish was that his joy might be in us, that our joy might be full.