God loves you. That’s right, I’m talking to you. You and nobody else. Forget about the people that you think I might be talking about, other than you, because I’m not talking about them right now, just You. God loves you.
Loves you. When He sees you, he smiles. A big, warm, tender smile. He delights in watching you and hearing what you have to say. He’s quiet sometimes, but I’m beginning to think that’s because he’s so focused on you that he likes to listen more than talk. He’s proud of you too. Proud like a daddy. A really proud daddy. Or maybe proud like a grandfather. I imagine him getting out his wallet and showing all of his golfing buddies your picture for the thousandth time, and I imagine them all groaning, “Not again! Every time we get together it’s all about your precious kid! We know you’re crazy about them, let’s just golf already!” But I imagine that he shuts them up and continues to tell them all of your merits anyway. Because he’s crazy about you.
When he sees your sadness, I know it hurts him. I know he’s just desperate to give you a big hug and tell you how much it saddens him to see that someone hurt you. Or that you hurt someone else and are struggling to know how to move on from that. He is right there with you in that pain. He understands pain so well.
But he doesn’t like to live in sadness. Really, he’s so joyful. Sometimes he tells you to cheer up because it’s going to be okay. Because he really is in control of all things and he really does love you enough to work things out for your good in the long run, and he really does care enough to go to great lengths to keep his promises. And he’s pretty awesome at exceeding all of your expectations just to surprise you. Because he’s joyful and playful and creative. And he loves you.
God also believes in you. You know, that you can do amazing things because you have a ton of unique characteristics that make you totally unlike any other person in the world. Different personality, interests, taste, talents, and past. After adding the perfect ingredients to make you just the way you are, God hand-mixed the dough that is you, and smiled. ”This one’s gonna be good.” Your looks, mindset, heart, and life are just as he planned. No random stars aligning in the universe, or chance or whatever, when it came to making you, he was intentional. Because he loves you, he believes in you. He has good works set apart for you to do that no one in the world can do as well as you can. He thinks you have unlimited -and largely untapped – potential.
Not only does he believe in you that you can do amazing things, he’s also rooting for you. Cheering you on to greater and greater. He wants you to succeed. To achieve great things and be happy and most importantly, to love deeply. He’s hoping you will break through the things that set you back, and run on to victory, and when you find victory, he’s hoping you will find joy there too. He’s not just sitting on the sidelines and screaming at you either, he’s running alongside you and encouraging you and patting you on the back, saying, “You can do this! I am here with you and I will not let you fail!” And he’s running tirelessly with you to refresh you with the water he brought along, and the sugar water to energize you for the length and toughness of the terrain. He’s not making you go this alone, he’s working harder than you to see you succeed. He’s doing the carrying, and he’s talking while he’s running. All you have to do is focus, knowing that he will not let you fail. If you fall, he will pick you back up. He will see you through to the end. He is on your side and is fully committed to your victory.
He loves you. He forgives you too. Very eagerly. You may think that because you messed up one too many times, or in that way, that he is angry with you. That he’s holding a grudge against you. But he’s not. He’s not keeping track of your wrongs. He’s forgiving you as soon as you come to him with, “So, I messed this one up again…” God is rushing you with a tight hug and a kiss on the cheek, and while you pause to take a breath in the middle of your rehearsed “I don’t deserve to be your kid anymore…” speech, he is yelling to everyone that you’re back and we all need to throw you a big party because you are restored to the place you had before. He’s not concerned with the fact that you don’t deserve to be his kid anymore, your opinion on that makes no difference to him. He’s just glad you’re back. Because he loves you.
He desires intimacy with you too. To know your heart and your thoughts, and to be invited into the sticky places of your soul that you are ashamed of. That you think if people knew about they would reject you automatically. He actually likes being invited into that. He already knows it’s there – he sees all – but he really wants you to trust him enough to invite him into your ugliness. He loves you as you are. And he also desires to bring a little or a lot of his light into those hidden spaces to make them less. I don’t think they’ll ever really go away in any of us (this side of heaven) but I think they are less powerful over us if he is there too. Like a couple of newlyweds who begin to open up to each other in trust, God tenderly invites you to open up to him. Without shame or fear of rejection, just…honestly. Slowly, if that’s what it takes, but actually. Because he loves all of you.
And he doesn’t just love you, he likes you too. He really, really, really likes spending time with you. He actually gets jealous when you spend too much of your time doing things without inviting him. But not because he’s petty or needy, just because he likes you. He enjoys your sense of humor. He likes your taste. He likes hearing your opinion, and sometimes he likes to change your opinion to help you become even more awesome. He thinks that your quirkiness and individualism are just right, and sometimes he gets confused that you would want to be someone else. I mean, don’t you know he really likes you as you are? Don’t you know he made you who you are? And if he made you who you are, don’t you think that you remaining who you are is important to him? I used to think that in order to live pleasing to God I needed to be someone I’m not, but the more I get to know God, the more I wonder if it’s more important to God that I live as I am, but with him. You know, in his company.
God loves you. He knows you’re not good enough to be in his presence, so HE came to YOU. He did the good things you’re not good enough to do, and he invited you into his goodness. If you came into agreement with him about your lack, and you agreed to let him meet you where you are, He claimed you for eternity and put his soul into you so that you can know him forever in full oneness and intimacy with him. Just as we in America pay earnest money when we put an offer in on a house to show that we truly are serious about buying that house, God put earnest money on you. But not money. He put HIMSELF in you to show his seriousness. He is completely sold out on this idea of hanging out with YOU forever. So sold out, in fact, that he even went so far as to die for you. I mean, what more could he do for you?
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39, emphasis mine)
God. Loves. You.