There's a song by Chris Sligh entitled, "Are You Pleased?" It's got a haunting melody, and it reminds me of some of the Psalms where the singer is begging God to give His Approval.
I can really relate to this song. Maybe I relate to this song a little too much. I've spent years praying these words (and many others just like them) to God. And I've spent decades feeling not worthy.
Are You pleased with me?Am I everything You want for me to be?Am I drawing closer to You?Is my heart deciding You are all I need?
Oh, are You pleased?
And then on Friday, a Bible verse popped up on my Facebook feed.
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." Mark 1: 9-11
And something clicked in me. I had an epiphany moment. So I pulled out my Bible, and I went through the Gospels and I checked. And I checked again. Surely, I was wrong. But nope.
So as Jesus came up from being baptized, God says, "I am pleased."
But Jesus had not done anything yet.
No miracles -- no disciples -- not even resisting temptation yet.
He just existed.
God was pleased with Jesus before he did anything. And since Jesus came to show us how God feels about us, God is pleased with us BEFORE we do anything.
God is pleased with me just for existing. Just like I can't do anything to make God stop loving me, I don't have to do anything to make Him love me.
God is pleased with me. No matter what I do.
He loves me.
He loves you.
He loves your neighbor whose dog poops on your lawn.
He loves the abused and broken woman.
He loves the entire population of the local prison (and every prison, real or imagined).
He loves everyone.
Just like He loved the demon possessed man.
Just like He loved the Woman at the Well.
Just like He loved Mary and Martha
Just like He loved the woman who grabbed His robe to get healing.
And the man lying by the side of the pool.
And the guy whose friends came on his behalf.
And Zaccheus sitting in the tree.
And all of his disciples.
And Mary Magdelene.
And to this day, He loves us all.
All the people in the world.
He created us ALL.
He has seen life happen to us.
He knows why we are who we are. He has a front row seat to all of our struggles. Every single one. He was there too.
He knows us even better than we know ourselves.
And he still loves us.
So here's my new anthem:
Blessed are you, walking on wavesTo find yourself sinking when you look awayBlessed are you, leper, standing aloneThe fear on their faces is all that you've knownBlessed are you, lonely widow who gaveYour last shiny coin to YahwehBlessed are you with your silver and liesKissing the One who's saving your lifeTell Me your story,show Me your woundsAnd I'll show you what Love seeswhen Love looks at youHand Me the pieces, broken and bruisedAnd I'll show you what Love seeswhen Love sees you
I'll end with a quote I read somewhere.