The Father's Good Pleasure

by John Paul Jackson

". . . Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will . . ."
Ephesians 1:45

If you have children, then you probably know what it is like to find pleasure in small giggly faces, tiny hands that tug on your fingers and little arms that hang around your neck, or your leg, or reach for you in the dark after a bad dream.

Sometimes, as parents , it becomes necessary to do certain things in a certain way for the sole purpose of hearing the giggles again. We can guess how our children will respond to our actions, so we take those actions because we want the smiles. We want the delight, and we want our kids to know they are loved.

This, I believe, is a reflection of our daily relationship with God. We are His children. He takes pleasure in us the way we take pleasure in our kids, only it is far deeper and broader for Him, because He is not limited to finite experience.

Some of you may have heard me tell this story before, but I tell it again now because it displays this concept. In this story, God acted on my behalf. There were a hundred different ways He could have done it, but instead, He chose to do it in a way that still blows my mind.

Several years ago, I flew to Europe for a month of conferences. When I left the Los Angeles airport, I was feeling sick but figured it was simply the 24-hour flu. However, a few days and two conferences later, I still wasn't feeling any better, and after the third conference, I felt even worse.

By the time I arrived at the sixth conference, I was in really bad shape. I had intense, stabbing pain under my ribcage, and my whole body was swollen. At 2:30 in the morning, I started complaining to the Lord about my situation.

"God, I'm really sick. This is not a cold; this is not the flu. I know You know that, but I just want to remind You that I know that. If You don't heal me, I'm going to check in to the hospital in the morning. Lord, You make the choice. It's up to You the conference or the hospital?"

After my little heart-to-heart with God, I became aware of someone standing beside the bed. I looked over and saw an old man who appeared to be in his 80s. He had thin white hair slicked back on his head, and his wrinkled, weathered complexion was very tan. He was staring at me.

O Lord, I thought, I told You I was sick! Now I'm hallucinating! I think there's a man standing next to my bed.

Then something occurred to me. Wait a minute. This could be an angel from the Lord. But no, that couldn't be it. He was too old to be an angel. I had seen a few middle-aged angels but no elderly ones.

Okay, Lord, I finally told Him, if this old man is really here, I want him to reach out his hand and place it on my hand so I can feel the weight and heat from his hand. None of this spirit stuff where he puts his hand through me I want to feel him here!

The old man reached out his hands, placed them on my hands and said, "I've come to pray for you so that you might get well."

As he began to pray, I felt heat pass from his hands through my hands and into my body, slowly rolling up my chest and down my legs, as if a scroll were being unrolled from my torso. In front of the scroll was intense pain; behind the scroll was no pain. As it moved through my body, it felt thick, like liquid honey. Instantly, I was healed.

As I stared at the old man, he began to smile. Then, in the blink of an eye, he disappeared right in front of me. One second he was there the next he was gone.

I jumped out of bed, exclaiming, "O God, thank You! This is so great! You're so wonderful! Thank You for sending Your angel to heal me!"

But then God clearly replied, "I didn't."

I was stunned. "O God, if that wasn't an angel it wasn't the devil, was it? I'm going to die. He healed me to kill me! Lord, I didn't mean to complain so hard."

But the Lord responded, "It wasn't him."

Well, if it wasn't an angel, I thought, and it wasn't the devil, who was it?

The Lord answered my question with a vision. He showed me that the old man was from Mexico and lived outside a small, obscure village. I saw the man in his prayer time, on his knees in his little sod hut, beseeching the Lord, "O God, I'm an old man. There's very little that I can do, and I love You so much. Do You even know I exist? I'm nothing. I live outside this little village, and no one even knows I'm here. Do You even know I'm here? Do You know I exist? Is there any way You could use me? What can I do for You? How can You use me here?"

I saw the Lord transport the man to Geneva, where I was, and God told me, "I took him and I used him to heal you, then I sent him back."

I was awestruck. God moved on my behalf, and He chose to do it like that in a way that I never would have thought of.

Our Father takes pleasure in His kids. This is one of the foundations of our faith. Without this understanding, it would be difficult to have an accurate picture of who He is. Just as we would not want our own children to miss the pleasure we take in them, so He does not want us to miss His heart.