If you were raised in the church, or have been spent any number of years as a Christian you probably understand quite well the extreme beauty of God’s infinite love for us. The amazing truth is that no greater love exists and the depths of such a love are truly unfathomable to our human minds (Ephes 2:4-5). God’s unchanging love is one of endless passionate pursuit for His children.
When we understand God’s character His love for us almost becomes accepted as a “given.” Like, He HAS to love us. After-all, He created us in His image. He sent his son to die a horrid torturous death on our behalf. Of course He has to love us. Of course He does! But, the real question– does God like us?
There’s a difference isn’t there? A monstrous difference. I’m commanded Biblically to love my enemies, but you know what– I can’t honestly say I don’t always like them. I choose to forgive them, but I won’t often choose to spend time with them. I have no natural desire to take them out to lunch, hang out with friendly chatter, or shower them with gifts. In other words, though I try to love my enemies– I wouldn’t describe them as my buddies.
My four year old son even recognizes the difference as after a particularly naughty morning we discussed how his attitude and behavior hurt God’s feelings. After he apologized as he said, “Does God still love me?” My gentle reply was, “Of course He does. God will always love you, nothing you can do will change that.” (Romans 8:37-39) My little guy seemed satisfied with that response initially, but then quickly looked concerned again as he asked, “But does God still LIKE me?”
Even children realize we can love people without necessarily liking them. I think if we were to be honest with ourselves we all wonder at times if God actually likes us. Sometimes our lives are so messy, sin so easily entangles us, we feel the weight of our shame and the consequences of our rebellion and we wonder– does God really like me?
At times we can be such a mess internally that we wonder if God really wants to be around us. Of course as Christians we believe He loves us enough to save us from hell, redeem us and cleanse us from our sin– but does God still “like” us when we aren’t put together? Some synonyms for “like” are: desire, elect, have a preference for, feel inclined to. Think about those words in the context of your relationship with God– do you really believe that God feels that way about you?
The bible has story and after story that demonstrates God’s wooing love towards His children. His yearning for them to return back to Him; regardless of how messy, sinful, and rebellious they have been. In fact, the entire book of Exodus is actually a story of God redeeming, providing and desperately trying to draw back the unfaithful Israelites even as they continuously looked and longed for their former lives of slavery.
What joy and confidence we have in the fact that God loves us consistently regardless of our past, present, or future mistakes. Let it be said that the Bible is explict and clear– God not only loves His children, but He also likes them.
What would it look like if we actually believed that? If we actually lived like it? Instead of running from God when we are at our messiest we must realize that His desire is merely for us to come close to His heart.