Brennan Manning tells the sweet and simple story of a friend’s elderly uncle who spontaneously skipped on a hill in Ireland, filled with delight of life itself. “Uncle,” the man said, “why are you so happy?” “Ahhhh,” the uncle replied through his brogue accent in which you could almost hear him grin, “Ohhhhh, you see …” he paused in joy, “the Father is very fond of me. The Father is is so awfully fond of me.”
This last year I have found myself pondering, if not parked on the wonderment and all-encompassing fact that God is very fond of us. He is very fond of me. He is very fond of you. Not unlike the Irishman, He sings (I’m not sure about the skipping part) with delight over me and over you. Not because He has to, but because you and I are the apple of His eye, the object of His warm affection. That fact merits the lighthearted elation of a child who lives in the security of a constant, enthusiastic, unalterable peace of being loved no matter what. I’m not making that up or blah, blah, blahing. The Bible tells me so.
Our son John was home for a spell and met me for coffee before my work shift. I allowed time to bring him into my workplace to meet my friends. I wanted to show off my son. I wanted them to experience his wit, see his handsomeness and get a taste of the delight that is John Nielsen. Ohhhh, you see … I’m just so awfully fond of John.
I practice restraint regarding showing photos of my grands — only one, only when asked. It’s not just their faces I love though — you have to know them. They are funny and quirky and interesting and unique. Even the two-month-old’s squeaks and stretches make us laugh. We’re just so awfully fond of them.
Why would we not think that God is eager to introduce us to His friends or show a photo of us, (the analogy is quickly becoming far-fetched but work with me) to someone and have them say, “Beautiful, God. Well done!” I like to think that even my squeaks and stretches make Him laugh.
What if I reveled in the fact that God is awfully fond of me? Would I live differently? Would I not need my resentments or my over-thinking or my people-hurts because the Father is awfully fond of me? The Father will take care of me. He is water, the door, my good shepherd, the lover of my soul, counselor, prince of peace, mighty God, need-meeter, comforter, provider, LISTENER, loyal friend, beginning of everything and end of everything and, well, everything.
What if we decided to nestle into the “furious” (Brennan Manning reference again) love of God and encircled ourselves with the delightful like of God? What if we spent today in the confidence of the sweet and happy affection of our Father? It will take awareness and then practice of course, but eventually things might change: self-doubt, self-loathing, searching, justifying, defending, and, and, and. Being loved and knowing it, has a way of calm. Ahhhhh … the Father is awfully fond of me. Want to say it out loud?