If you need to know how much I like my son you just have to know one thing: when I see him, I smile. No matter how hard my day is, no matter what I have been going through or what sorts of things I am wrestling with in my head, when I see him I smile. Lately I have been picking my 5-year-old up from kindergarten. The highlight of my day is seeing him come bounding out of the doors, Mario backpack on his back, blonde hair almost glowing in the afternoon sunlight, running with the reckless abandonment that only a child can have. Seriously, it moves me every time I see it. I like him so much that when I see him I can’t help but smile.
Notice that I have been using the word like. Because I do like my son. I don’t just love him in that whole “parent’s are supposed to love everyone” sort of way, I actually like him*. I was struck the other day by all of the different times in the New Testament where God calls us not just His servants, but His sons. In doing so, God understood (because He created parents and sons) the deep love that I would have for my sons. He understood that I would smile when I see them, and knowing that God says, “that’s how I am with you.”
I think my whole life I have heard that God loves me. For most of my life I have believed that to be true. But only since I have had my own sons have I realized that God likes me too, that when He sees me He smiles.
*For a long time people have said about family (or people in the church) that you are supposed to love everyone, but you don’t have to like everyone. That is just a messed up idea of what love is about. Love, that agape, all inclusive God type love is about like as much as it is about what we call love.