It has been very hot in St. Louis over the past few days. This is the "duh" statement of the summer! Many have offered advice on staying cool when it's hot.
1) Stay home in the air condition. Order pizza, order Chinese, eat sub sandwiches, but do not turn on the oven!
2) Go join the rest of your community at the mall or the movie theatre.
3) Drink plenty of liquids. Milk shakes seem to be one of the best liquids you can drink. (I suggest Maggie Moo's.)
4) Go to Six Flags or go to Busch Stadium to see the Cardinals.
Has the heat gotten the best of me? Can you really keep cool at two of the hottest venues in town? Are we defining "cool" and "hot" in the same way? That depends on your perspective and your company! Over the past couple of weeks of 100+ temperatures and heat indices, it has been my privilege, and I do mean privilege, to accompany some children to these St. Louis attractions. Although Six Flags has only one real "draw" left for me (Scooby Doo's Ghostbuster Ride is great), the thrill of watching a child's excitement is absolutely delightful!
You should have seen Jonathan, my nephew, when he got off of Tony Hawk's Big Spin. He came running off with a big grin telling me how cool it was. Maybe that's why they call them "thrill rides." His sister, Anna, wasn't quite as excited about the ride but overall had fun. Or, at the risk of bragging, the smile across his face and the "yippee" he voiced when Aunt Amy made the basket that won the big black stuffed Spider Man. Then, there was the second smile and "yippee" when the second ball fell in and Woody got one too. I must confess, I prayed for those shots to go in because I wanted those boys to have the big black stuffed Spider Man. It could have been the fifty-eight degrees of Meramec Caverns at that moment. I didn't notice any heat at all. A ferry tale charm enters that moment as their delight brings sheer delight to my heart.
Have you ever watched the eyes of little boys and girls when they enter a major league baseball stadium for the first time? Did you know that their eyes can look as big as the baseball itself while they take in the awe of their surroundings? Anyone who knows me, knows I love baseball. But even I can find the anticipation of nine innings of heat to be somewhat dreadful. Even I can hope that this game will not go into extra innings. But not at the Tuesday and Thursday games this week. Neither the dread of the heat in the air, nor the thrill of the heat of a fastball can compare to the delight I received as delight swept across the face of my nephew and niece on Tuesday night, and of Woody and Eddie on Thursday night. And delight, well, it never seems to end when you're at the ball park. What a joy to explain to the next generation why something is happening or what something means during the ballgame. What a venture it is to get Jonathan across fifteen sections of stands in order to have his picture made with Fred Bird. What excitement to see the camera man take aim at Jonathan and then everyone in the stadium see my nephew on the jumbo tron! What fun it is to watch Anna finally get to eat some Dippin' Dots.(If you don't know what these are, by all means, get to a game or an amusement park!) And what a thrill to see Eddie and Woody grinning ear to ear as they enjoyed the game together.
As I pondered these cool moments with these beautiful children, I began to realize who had the best time of all. You guessed right - me. And, as you have probably discerned simply through the blog title, delight is the word that painted my mind. Now, none of us are required to find a lesson in all that happens, but sometimes you can't help but go deeper when reflecting on the pleasures of life. "Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart." I've heard Psalm 37:4 many times in my life. It is truly one of my life's ambitions to delight myself in the Lord. After a brief search, I found a couple of other verses that spell out the same message of delighting in the Lord.
Yet, something puzzled me. In the "Cool Adventures in the St. Louis Heat", it wasn't just the ones for whom the adventure was planned who received the delight. It was the planner as well. Other verses about delight began to ring a bell. Only this time, as I searched the scriptures, it was God taking delight in his people. Of the half a dozen verses that specifically enlighten us to this, Zephaniah 3:17 portrays this truth most vividly, "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."
A mutual delight! Why on earth would the God of all creation take delight in me? Perhaps Six Flags and baseball games can shed a little light on delight. As I wandered these parks with the children, my delight came from the fact that they were delighting in pleasures I was providing. Could it be, then, that God delights in his children when we are delighting in him and the pleasures that he provides? I think so!
So, what is my response to this truth? My response is a greater desire to understand and to know that which God calls, "pleasure." And, even more so, to know the God of all delight!
I do hope this blog somehow delights you!