When God looks down from Heaven…I always wondered what He saw. I know how I view myself, and prayed He saw me differently. I believed I knew how others viewed me, and prayed likewise He would see me differently. Yet, my mind continually tries to feed me lies about how I am viewed. I go through my day-to-day life trying to ask myself “Will God approve of me if I do ______”, “Will He still love me if I fail Him?” Because let me tell you…I fail daily. Do you know what I discovered yesterday…God looks down at me and feels (yes, feels!) compassion for me. Some other great words for compassion would include: kindness, empathy, concern and care. My heart asked “so wait…you mean, He isn’t looking at me in disgust, in frustration, in pity…but in kindness…in love? Is that even possible!?”
Luke 15:11-32 opened my eyes to something I’d never seen before!! I heard a message by Andy Stanley (and strongly suggest you listen to it: http://www.intouch.org/broadcast/video-archives/content.aspx?topic=He_Loves_Me_video#.USKc7R00V8E ) and that’s where all these thoughts originated. But I wanted to share some of my “notes” I took while listening.
-Nothing we do can make God love us less or more…and I’m not just saying that tritely! I really mean it…He loves you simply because you are you. Isn’t that a wonderful thought!
-The only people Jesus didn’t seem to “get along with” were the people who were preaching and teaching that God only likes good and law abiding people. Jesus was attracted to and loves (and was loved) by people very different from Him. Jesus likes ungodly people (I know…like, seriously…He likes ungodly people!!) Christ doesn’t look at people based on what they’ve done but based on who they are at the heart. He looked to the heart of the person, the good of the person.
Jumping into the passage in Luke it’s a big lead up of how we go after and seek that which we have lost. The chapter starts with the story of the lost sheep, the lost coin and then the story of the lost son…or better known as the prodigal son. Anyway…the Father (a picture of God) loses His son, a very precious person, and the son has gone away and done all sorts of horrible things. In the eyes of society…he was a black sheep, a failure, a disgrace to his family…and this is how the son viewed himself. In verses 18-19 the son prepares a speech of forgiveness, because he “knows” there’s no way his Father would take him back. But check out this awesome news…not only does the Father take him back – but the Father has been waiting for him to return, He has been looking and without hearing the son’s story the Father opens his arms, heart and house to this son. The Father doesn’t need to hear how bad we’ve been, what all we’ve done wrong…He just desires to have us back, to find that which was lost. The son was going to beg to work in his Father’s house because he “knew” there was no way his Father would take him back as a son…but because the Father never stopped loving His son, never stopped watching for him and never denied him son-ship the Father moves out of a deep conviction of unconditional, all-encompassing love. Wow.
The sheer beauty of a love like that just blows every thought I ever thought God thought about me. God isn’t looking for a good explanation of our choices. He doesn’t want our story. He just wants us.
The younger son came to the Father saying “I haven’t, I haven’t, I haven’t, I will…”, the oldest son was telling the Father “I have, I have, I have…” the issue in the Father’s heart isn’t obedience. (Gasp…what!?) Nope…it’s not obedience (sure it’s very important, but not the most important aspect of our relationship with God). The most important part of our relationship with our Father is that we simply come. It’s not about doing things for God, but it’s about being with God! Just basking in His presence, spending time with Him in prayer and in Bible study.
A cool question to ponder…which son did the Father in the story love more? The answer…neither. He loved them equally…as long as they were His sons, it didn’t matter if they did or didn’t do things for him. As long as they were with Him…He was happy and ready to celebrate.
So the next time you start to wonder if God loves you, or if you begin wondering what God is thinking about when He thinks about you…wonder no more! Jesus loves you and when He looks at you…He is looking on in compassion and love. When God sees me…He sees His daughter (or son) and loves you more than anyone else.