There are some songs that just have a way of getting stuck in one’s head. A lot of what seems to crop up in my mind comes from the dregs of my childhood. If it’s not eighties music that my dad played in the car, it’s musicals with which I was obsessed or songs that I have belted in various church settings over the years.
This week, it is the song, “I Am a Friend of God”. It is such a happy go lucky song and, as soon as it finds its way into my brain, I’m subject to an earworm for at least a few days. In this instance, the first few lines have found their way into my mind and I have not been able to shake them:
“Who am I that you are mindful of me? That you hear me when I call? Is it true that you are thinking of me? How you love me–it’s amazing!”
I love the boisterous declaration at the end that celebrates how deeply loved the person finds themselves to be in the eyes of God, but I was really drawn to the questions that come before it. Why in the world would God pay attention to me? How in the world could I ever believe that I am worthy to be on the Lord’s mind? Who am I in light of all that God is?
These words pulled me to Psalm 8, specifically verses 3 and 4. They read:
“When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?” (NIV)
Have you ever felt this way? When you actually pause to consider all that God has done and continues to do, His incredible character and the beauty of the Divine existence, do you ever stop and wonder what in the world God was doing when He decided to give us a second thought?
I know that I really resonate with the Psalmist here. Nothing can squelch my sometimes dangerous pride faster than any amount of considering God’s infinite beauty and goodness. All of a sudden my best things seem tiny and my greatest achievements seem miniscule. Sometimes, it can be good to be reminded that we are small in the grand scheme of things.
But how quickly this can cause us to fall into the trap of self-loathing! In an attempt to make sure we understand that we are a sinful people, I believe that we have sometimes erred too far on the side of viewing ourselves as little more than worms. While it is true that the human condition is one of brokenness that can be mended in Christ Jesus, the Psalmist goes on to declare that we are, in fact, something far better than slimy creatures. Verses 5-8 read:
“You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.” (NIV)
Here we get a glimpse into how God truly views us. This is who we are. He has made human beings a little lower than angels, He has given us the task of caring for His creation. He has called us not just good, but very good.
Sometimes it can feel difficult to live into the reality of being “very good”. We can be so cruel to ourselves. We fall short. Again, while we should certainly be aware of our need for Jesus to come and heal us from the effects of darkness, it is also far too easy to move into a place in which we believe that we are worthless, despite what God has spoken over us.
This is certainly something with which I have struggled, but so many of those battles I have fought have been a result of lies the enemy has whispered in my ear. Where God says “worthy”, a million other lesser things scream “worthless”.
But that is exactly what those whispers are: lies. Whether you see feelings of worthlessness pop up in your marriage, your friendships, your work, or even just your inner dialogue while standing in front of the mirror, those feelings (while valid in your experience) are nothing but smoke and mirrors.
The truth: we are worthy because of God’s love for us. We are chosen. We are meant to thrive in His care. Who are we that He is mindful of us? We are His, plain and simple.
Yes, it is true that He is thinking of you. How He loves you–it’s amazing!
I simply want today’s devotion to be an encouragement to each of us. Pause and consider the vastness of God and allow yourself to feel small in His presence. Small, however, does not mean insignificant. When you begin to slide into those old patterns of belief, think of the Psalmist, who looked up to the heavens, wondered at God’s grace, and went on to proclaim the incredible role humans play in the midst of it all. He has lifted us up to be more than we could ever imagine, and that is the truth we can use to combat the lies.
God loves you and has called you worthy. Even more, He has called you to a life of stewardship, of living into the gifts He has given you to help fulfill the mission He has placed on humankind and uniquely on each of our lives. I felt like someone today needed to hear this: God loves you, God has a plan for you, and you are very good.
In short, against all odds, God calls us friend. Amen.