Years ago I sat down on the couch to have a quiet time. Tov, my loveable dog, immediately hopped up, walked over and made himself at home on my lap. Full of expectation, he gently poked his nose into my hand, then sat contently as I stroked the back of his head. Occasionally he redirected my hand to make sure I was getting just the right spots – under his chin, behind his ear, across his nose. Stopping was out of the question. At even the suggestion, Tov’s nose was back in my hand, sometimes gently, sometimes insistently, but always filled with expectation and anticipation. There was no question at all – Tov loved being on my lap.
As I sat there, I thought about my heavenly Father and how much He wants to hold, love, and care for me. I wondered. Would I seek out His lap with the same assurance I would receive the attention I was longing for? Could I sit contently as my Father stroked my hair and spoke soft, gentle words about how much He loves me and how happy and proud He is to call me His child? And if He stopped, would I eagerly remind Him that I was soaking up the attention, that it was absolutely filling my soul and that I LOVED being with Him?
I realize we aren’t dogs; what is appropriate for a dog is not necessarily appropriate for humans. Yet I think there is something about Tov’s response and the image of sitting on my heavenly Father’s lap that carries more than a little bit of truth.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.
Loved by God
We are so much better at giving than we are at receiving. Yet as we look at Biblical history we repeatedly see the Father showering love upon His people, people who often didn’t want to receive and rest in God’s love.
God created a beautiful garden for the first man and woman to live in. Instead of fully receiving and enjoying God’s love, they allowed Satan to plant doubts that had devastating consequences.
God heard the cries of His people and provided one miracle after another that allowed them to escape Egyptian oppression. Instead of fully receiving and appreciating the magnitude of God’s love, the people grumbled and complained about what they did not have.
God, understanding better than anyone our need for a Savior, sent His own Son to take upon Himself the unfathomable burden of all humanity’s sin, thereby paying the horrible price that each one of us rightly deserves to pay. Instead of fully receiving and embracing God’s sacrificial love, we often redefine it in our own terms, minimize it or downright reject it.
Our Father longs to lavish His love on us in ways we can’t begin to imagine. He delights in each one of us – and amazingly, there is not one of us He loves more than another. We are each His favorites.
What is one thing you can do to move toward fully receiving the incredible, unconditional love God the Father longs to give us?