Ever been around one of those infectiously enthusiastic people who exclaims over the beauty of the day, no matter what the state of the weather, always finding something to praise?
Ever wonder why the psalms are filled with one passage after another praising God for his goodness, kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness, magnificence, power, wisdom, understanding, compassion?
Just look at Psalm 104: “Lord, my God, how fantastic you are! You are clothed in glory and grandeur! You wear light like a robe; you open the skies like a curtain…
It’s beautiful language, but do you ever wonder why God needs to hear it? Doesn’t he know all that good stuff about himself? Why put it all in so many words?
I was pondering this last week when I was with the Guideposts Writers Workshop, getting to know the talented winners of our bi-annual writers contest.
They were a wonderful bunch, thoughtful, hardworking, enthusiastic, but one of them in particular just couldn’t say enough nice things about the event.
For example, I would apologize to Carmen Escamilla about the rainy weather. “No, it is beautiful,” she would say. “I love the sound of the rain falling on the trees and the wind blowing through them.”
Or I would suggest that maybe the dinner wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. “No, no, it is delicious,” Carmen would respond. “You have no idea how wonderful for me it is to have all my meals made for me. I don’t have to cook all week!”
Or I would hope that a session didn’t go on too long. “I love everything about being here,” Carmen answered. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity. I’m soaking everything up.”
Carmen has the godly gift of enthusiasm, seeing the good in everything, and it is a godly gift. As Dr. Peale often pointed out, the very word “enthusiasm” means being “in God” and finding the God in us.
When you’re enthusiastic about something you say it out loud. You might even state the obvious. “The day is beautiful!” you exclaim.
Everybody knows it’s a beautiful day. They can see the sunlight sparkling on the dew-spattered grass and the white puffy clouds rolling in the blue sky. But when you say it, they share your joy.
This is why, I believe, God delights in our praise. It’s not for his sake. It’s for ours. He knows he’s magnificent, loving, kind, majestic. But when we tell him, we get to feel that joy.
Thanks, Carmen, for reminding me of that. You are a lovely, sunny-tempered, warm soul. And yes, we did have some wonderful, beautiful days. The sun even came out from behind those gray clouds…