What God Feels for Me
Read your Bible: 1 John 4:7–19
For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.Zephaniah 3:17
We forget so quickly that we are God’s beloved children and allow the many curses of our world to darken our hearts. Therefore we have to be reminded of our belovedness and remind others of theirs.
— Henri Nouwen
How does the majestic, omnipotent, holy God feel about you?
Ever wonder about that? Do you suspect He feels disgust or regret or loathing? Look at the verbs in today’s spotlight verse.
God rejoices over you. God calms you. God exults (that means He takes delight, like a proud Father) over you. God sings about you. And it’s a happy song, not a dirge!
Right now, try to picture someone who makes you happy. Imagine their eyes, their touch, their laugh. Just thinking about them makes you smile. And that is how God feels about you!
Caught Up in the Raptures of Love
Paddy Chayefsky wrote a play about a man named Gideon. In one scene Gideon is in the desert feeling rejected and lonely, but at night God breaks into Gideon’s tent and overwhelms him with love.
And Gideon cries out in his Brooklyn accent:
“God, oh God, all night long I’ve thought of nuttin’ but You, nuttin’ but You. I’m caught up in the raptures of love, God! I wanna take you into my tent, wrap you up, and keep you… God, hey God, tell me that You love me!”
“I love you, Gideon,” God answers.
“Yeah! Tell me again, God.”
“I love you, Gideon.”
Gideon scratches his head. “I don’t understand. Why? Why do you love me?”
And God says, “I hardly know why myself.”
That line always gets a laugh from the audience watching the play. But the next line tugs the heart. God says, “But then passion is an unreasonable thing.”44
God’s passion for you and for me really is unreasonable in the sense that cannot be explained by reason. It is rooted not in reason but in the truth that
God is love. (1 John 4:8)
And that includes the joy, the songs, the compassion, the hard choices and sacrifices of real love.
We love because He first loved us. Amazingly, when I’m enraptured by God’s love I am only mirroring what He feels for me!
What God Calls Me
Another place God’s feelings about you are revealed: His terms of endearment for you. Did you know that God calls you His “Beloved”?
The Bible says you are:
…the elect of God, holy and beloved… Colossians 3:12 (KJV)
…beloved of the Lord. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (KJV)
“Beloved.” It’s a word used most frequently in the old King James Version. And to my mind it’s a better word than the more modern yet curiously formal-sounding “well loved” or “dear friends” in newer translations.
What’s more, Jesus tells the church in Revelation that, in the new heaven and new earth, we’ll get a name change!
When I was a kid hearing schoolyard taunts about my name, “René Schlaepfer,” this was one of the aspects of heaven I looked forward to the most! I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “René? That’s a girl’s name!” or “Shlepping around again, eh, Schlaepfer?” or “Hey, Shleprock!” A new name? Yes!
Maybe you were called something on the playground, or at home, that was a put-down, too. And it stung: “Loser.” “Disappointment.” “Stoner.” “Rebel.” Maybe that even became a secret, internal name that, in your mind, partly defines you, even as an adult.
Now look how God changes your name in this heavenly scene:
I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem… Revelation 3:12
So — I get the name of a city? Wow. “Glad to meet you, I’m Jerusalem Schlaepfer.” Not much of an improvement. But wait. What is the name of the city of God?
God reveals it to Isaiah:
Never again will you be called “The Forsaken City” or “The Desolate Land.” Your new name will be “The City of God’s Delight” and “The Bride of God,” for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his bride. Isaiah 62:4 (NLT)
Do you ever feel as if you could be nicknamed, “Forsaken…”; “Desolate…”?
Well, there’s a name change in store. And one of your new forever names as part of God’s people will be “God’s Delight.” Sounds like a pet name someone gives their closest loved one.
And that’s exactly what it is.
The God of all power cherishes you, treasures you. Delights in you. Don’t try to say it doesn’t make sense. Passion is unreasonable.
Try this: Say “I am God’s beloved!” out loud. Go ahead. Now try “I am God’s delight!”
Did you say those names with a sarcastic snicker or a hesitant whisper? That’s probably a sign that the concept of God’s love still needs to seep down into your soul.
And letting it seep in really makes a difference:
Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12
He gives His beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2 (KJV)
…beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7 (KJV)
How does that move you?
God is… the One who calls you Beloved.
Questions For Reflection
Is it easy or difficult for you to say “I am God’s Beloved Child!” out loud? Why?
What difference do you think it would make to say or think this throughout a normal day, and really believe it?
How does it make you feel to read Zephaniah 3:17?
Are there people you know who need to know this truth? How can you help them?
Ask yourself: Have I thanked God for His love to me today?
Have I shown love to someone today?