Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What AM I to God?

If a person doesn't feel all that great about themselves, the phrase "God loves you" may not have a lot of impact. As Rich Mullins said at least once, "That don't make me special. That just proves that God ain't got no taste."

So maybe there are different ways to think about my relationship with my Creator.

The Scriptures employ a wide scale of metaphors to capture the many facets of our relationship with God. If you consider them in a sort of ascending order, there is a noticeable and breathtaking progression. Down near the bottom of the totem pole we are the clay and he the Potter. Moving up a notch, we are the sheep and he the Shepherd, which is a little better position on the food chain but hardly flattering; sheep don't have a reputation as the most graceful and intelligent creatures in the world. Moving upward, we are the servants of the Master, which at least lets us into the house, even if we have to wipe our feet, watch our manners, and not talk too much. Most Christians never get past this point, but the ladder of metaphors is about to make a swift ascent. God also calls us his children and himself our heavenly Father, which brings us into the possibility of real intimacy  -  love is not one of the things a vase and its craftsman share together, nor does a sheep truly know the heart of the shepherd, though it may enjoy the fruits of his kindness. Still, there is something missing even in the best parent-child relationship. Friendship levels the playing field in a way family never can, at least not until the kids have grown and left the house. Friendship opens a level of communion that a five-year-old doesn't know with his mother and father. And "friends" are what he calls us.

But there is still a higher and deeper level of intimacy and partnership awaiting us at the top of this metaphorical ascent. We are lovers. The courtship that began with a honeymoon in the Garden culminates in the wedding feast of the Lamb. "I will take delight in you," he says to us, "as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will I rejoice over you," so that we might say in return, "I am my beloved's and his desire is for me." (John Eldredge "The Sacred Romance")

Truth is...God DOES love me; not because of, nor in spite of, anything I've done; not as a response to some chemical reaction in his cosmic brain or a combination of pheromones and circumstances, but because I am his Beloved. He loves me because he chooses to love me.

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