Does God only Love Us, or Does He Actually Like Us Too?

Lately, I’ve been reading through a book called Grace Walk by Steve McVey.  So far, it’s been a great journey and helping me through a lot of self-worth and self-esteem issues that I struggle with in my life.  In the opening chapter, McVey says this about how he used to feel about God’s feelings towards him, “I knew that He always loved me, but felt that He probably didn’t like me…”(McVey, 2005).

Gosh did that ring true with me.  I felt the weight of that statement very deeply in my soul and took a long while to process it.  So, the question remains, does God just love us, or does He actually like us too.?

I think that this question arises initially from a distorted view of what God’s love is.

This perspective of God’s love paints Him as a disapproving disgruntled parent who obligingly is forced to love His children because it’s in His nature. It’s as if He has no choice but to love us and if it were up to Him, He wouldn’t. He just loves us because He has to. This view shows a God who seems to be constantly disappointed in His children and puts up with them out of pure duty.

The truth is radically different as McVey points out late in the book. God loves us AND likes us.  Psalm 16:3 says, “As for the saints who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.” Psalm 149:4 says, “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people.”  God doesn’t love us obligingly.  He not only loves us, He takes pleasure in us and delights in us.

Just go back to the beginning of the world. When God looked out over His creation, “He saw ALL that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”  That “all” includes every single person ever born. Later, the Psalmist says in Psalm 104:31, “Let the Lord be glad in His works.” God didn’t make a mistake when He created us. He still looks at His creation and says, “It is very good.”  That includes each and every human on the earth. We are all His creation and not only does He love us (by choice mind you, not by obligation), He actually likes us as well. In His eyes, we are his delight, His pleasure, and we are very good.  That thought, to me, is so encouraging, uplifting, and fulfilling.

 

I hope you’re encouraged by that thought as well.  This is the first part of a series that I’m doing on love stories from the Bible.  If you want to follow the blog and get a notification whenever I post something new, simply click on the pop-up in the lower right hand corner.

 

McVey, Steve. Grace Walk. Harvest House Publishers, 2005.

Finding God in the Fall – Part One

If I’m being completely open and honest, I’ve always struggled in the fall.  Depression hits pretty hard for me starting about middle of October and then comes and goes until April-ish.  It’s a tricky thing for me.  For those of you who know me, I’m a person of faith.  I rely pretty heavily on my relationship with God to get me through difficult times.  However, the funny thing is that as my depression gets bigger and closer, God seems to get smaller and farther away.  So it’s a downward spiral generally.  The weather turns, I get depressed, then I lose my connection with God, and it makes me more depressed.

So, this year, I decided to try to shift my perspective on the fall.  Usually, I see fall as a time of death and decay as plants are going dormant for winter.  I see fall as a time when the vivid colors of spring and summer morph and fade into dull browns and grays.  The fun filled activities of summer lull into a slow drawn-out trudging monotony.  However, over the next three posts, I’m going to show how to shift perspective to redeem all these things and to use them to keep my connection with God.

Let’s start with the first, death and decay.  It’s true.  During the fall, many plants die.  The beautiful flowers that are planted in the spring whither and die, the vibrant green grass goes dormant into a grayish brown, and the trees stand lifelessly still.

However, I think the way to change perspective on this issue is to look at fall not as a season of death and decay, but also as a season of harvest.  Yes it is true that plants are dying, but that death is part of the harvest.  It is the completion of what was begun in the spring with the planting.

We can connect with God through this by remembering that He is a god of completion.  God finishes what He starts. This is true in plants but it is also true in us.  Every one of us was put on Earth for a reason.  We are not accidents.  We have purpose for being here and God will bring about that purpose in our lives.  He is going to finish what He started in our lives.  Focusing on that and dwelling on the harvest is the first way that I am shifting my perspective this year.  God is not a god of death and decay.  He is a god of harvest and completion.  I choose to trust in that.

As always, thank you for reading.  If you want to receive and email notification whenever I post something new, click on the “follow” tab in the lower right hand corner of your screen.  Tune in next week for the continuation of how to shift focus in the fall.

 

(This is an abridged version of a piece that I wrote for my church, Northside Christian Church’s, website.  If you want to read the original piece, head to www.northsideweb.org/blog)