Twice in the life of Jesus we find the heavenly Father leaning over the balcony of heaven and crying out for all to hear, "This is my boy! I really love him! I am really proud of him!" (At least, that is one way to very loosely paraphrase what is said.)
The actual verses say, "This is my beloved Son."
Perhaps you too need to hear a word from the Father that you are His beloved.
They have an acrostic in the recovery literature that is helpful. It speaks of those times when I am tempted to fall. It also speaks of those times when we are tempted to believe that we are not God's beloved. The acrostic is H.A.L.T.
When I am hungry, angry, lonely or tired, I am especially vulnerable. It is also during these times that we sometimes need to hear a word from the Father about the fact that we too are the beloved.
Many of you have worked really hard in preparation and follow-up for Easter. Perhaps you had a big, glorious day. Perhaps you were disappointed with some aspects of it. Perhaps you are tired. Perhaps there are other things going on in your life these days that cause you to need to hear a word from God that you are His beloved.
I assume all of you who read this are committed, dedicated believers. You love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. You love to worship Him, serve Him and read His Book. You are a true blue believer. But that does not take away from the fact that from time to time you need to hear a word that says, "You are God's beloved."
I want to say to you on the authority of God's Word and with all the passion I can gather: you are God's beloved. You are the apple of His eye. He absolutely loves you. He is fascinated by you. He is like a lover that just can't stop staring.
I remember when my children were younger. We had one house that had a sandbox just outside of a window. Sometimes I would just stand there by that window and look out at the kids playing in the sandbox and admire them. My heart would well up with pride and joy and love as I thought about how much I treasure them. They had no idea I was watching as they filled a bucket with sand or ran a truck down imaginary roads.
They didn't know I was looking with fascination at their little hands. They had no idea that someone, just 10 feet away, was noticing the little construction project they were creating. They thought they were alone. But they were not alone. Someone was watching.
The heavenly Father does that as you play in His sandbox. He presses his cheeks against the glass and looks at you and thinks, "That is my beloved!"
That is all I have to say this week. I know some of you are waiting for the other shoe to drop. You are used to a kind of teaching must always conclude by saying, "And so, in light of what you have heard, you sorry people need to shape up and get with it." This isn't one of those messages.
You are God's beloved. The apple of his eye. Nothing you could do could make him love you more because his love for you is perfect. Nothing you will ever do will ever make Him love you less. He thinks about you constantly, fondly. He is smiling as he does. Bask in His love. Receive His love. Wallow in His love.
You say, "Oh, not me, I have sinned. I have done bad things."
You have; it is true. We all have. But he is a gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in longsuffering, mercy and grace. And you, you his beloved. Would you open your heart a little wider this week and receive a little more of His great love for you?