Is God happy? According to the Scriptures he is. In 1 Timothy 1:11, Paul refers to "the gospel of the glory of the happy God." He uses the Greek word makarios, which refers to a pleasant state of satisfaction. This reminds me of the familiar phrase coined by John Piper: God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. We can be satisfied and happy in God, but when is God satisfied? When is God happy? And is it possible for him to be happier than he already is? If you're like me, most likely you have a polished theological answer to this question ready at your disposal. In fact, you might quote John Piper on God's pleasure or happiness being rooted in his name being glorified. And yes, that's true. But this morning God helped me to take off my theological cap for a while to see what makes him most happy in a more simple, childlike way.
This morning I shared the gospel with a boat load of kids at our Outrigger Island Vacation Bible School. Afterwards, our teachers followed up with these kids and spoke with them one-to-one about their responses. One child, in particular, was sobbing. He told his teacher that his grandmother was getting ready to die, and this made him think more about heaven. When his teacher asked him about his church background, he told her that he had been baptized when he was younger but didn't really understand what he was doing. So, this teacher came to me with this information and requested that I talk to him as soon as possible.
It wasn't long before this boy made his way into my office and we sat down together. I asked him about his grandmother. I asked him about the morning. And then I shared the gospel with him again, reminding him that faith is not doing something for God, but believing what God has done for you in Christ. I asked him more questions to see if he understood that he was a sinner and if he was ready to follow Jesus as his Savior. He fought back tears as I put my arm around him. I asked him if he wanted to pray and tell God what was in his heart. He looked at me and said, "I don't know what to say." I smiled and told him, "Just talk to Him like you're talking to me." Then, with tears running down his cheeks, this kid prayed the most genuine prayer I've heard in a long time. No formalities, no Christian lingo, no holding back. He just told God he was sorry and asked for forgiveness. He thanked God for Jesus dying for him. And then he prayed for his grandma to get better. It was so simple and so sincere.
After that I prayed for him and then gave him a book, A Faith to Grow On, by John MacArthur. I wrote a note on a slip of paper and gave him my phone number and email. I told him that I'd like to meet his parents in the coming weeks. We talked about him coming back to church and plugging into a Sunday School class. He seemed excited and eager about it. As I walked him back to his class, I had a smile that wouldn't go away.
A little while later the Holy Spirit led me to a familiar story in the Bible. A story that reminded me of when God is most happy. Luke 15:7 speaks of the parable of the lost sheep and ends like this:
Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
God is a happy God. But it seems he is most happy when his lost children repent and run to Him for forgiveness. I tasted some of this happiness today and it made me want more. It was a child-like happiness that I couldn't keep to myself and so I shared it today with you. And so may we be reminded that God is most happy, and I think we are too, when sinners turn to Him for salvation.