God Likes Us
Written by Stephen Buckley
God likes you. And me.
It took me nearly four decades to figure that out, but that doesn’t make this truth any less profound.
God likes you. And that reality is revolutionary.
If you’ve already absorbed this, then feel free to skip this blog post. But if you’re like most of us, you probably haven’t. I am pretty certain most of us don’t believe that God likes us because I have never heard a sermon on the subject. Not one. And I’ve called myself a Christian for 40-plus years.
Understanding God’s love is no doubt life-changing. (That’s a separate post.) Understanding that He delights in us is no less so.
I’m a father of two twentysomethings. They are smart, kind, generous, and thoughtful (they take after their mother), but they’re human. They have flaws. They make mistakes. They have said and done things that fall short of my hopes and expectations. I might be disappointed in their actions, but never in them. I delight in them. I like them.
So it is with God and those of us who call him Abba, Father. He doesn’t simply put up with us. He isn’t sitting on His throne, face stern, arms folded, feet tapping, mouth sneering, eyes slit in anger. Just the opposite is true. He delights in us. He likes us.
For those of us from dysfunctional homes, that may be a hard truth to hold. That doesn’t make it any less true. Don’t take my word for it. God Himself says so, again and again. He called the Isrealites His treasure. One psalm tells us that He delights in those who fear him. Another psalm says we are the apple of His eye. The prophet Zephaniah told Israelites that God would “rejoice over you with joy….He will exult over you with song.”
Why does this matter? Because when someone likes us, we can be our full selves in their presence. We don’t have to impress them. We don’t have to be defensive or put on airs. We pour out our hearts to them; we laugh and cry with them. We relax. We know we’re accepted.
This should liberate those of us long shackled by shame and rejection. The God of the Universe, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, doesn’t simply tolerate me. He doesn’t grit His teeth when He thinks of me. Instead, He adores me. His heart swells as He sings over me.
This means that when I pray, I can share with him everything – fears, doubts, worries, insecurities, dreams, questions, sin. He knows what I’m thinking anyway, so it’s futile to hide. And here’s what’s amazing: He knows everything about me, and still accepts me.
This transforms my relationships. If I know that the God of the Universe delights in me, then I don’t have to constantly compare myself to others. Instead of being insecure about the gifts He has given me, I can surrender them to Him and let Him use them as He wants. I accept others. I accept myself.
This flies in the face of our culture, which teaches that we are supposed to look in the mirror and like ourselves, just because…. There is a touch of truth to that, but it misses the mark. We are supposed to like ourselves because God likes us. He likes us because we have embraced the transforming forgiveness and renewal of Christ’s work on the cross. That’s it. No more, no less.
There is no getting around it. It’s the God’s honest truth. And we can make it our reality. Let the revolution begin.