“What do you think God thinks about when He thinks about you?” Andy asked this question in a sermon not too long ago as he talked about the prodigal son. I think it’s an important question.
Do your failures and past sins pop into your mind when you think about what God must think of you? Do your prevailing habits or current attitude overwhelm your thoughts and make you want to hide from Him? Do you think when God thinks about you He shakes His head in disgust?
Or, maybe you think He’s proud of you right now, certainly in comparison to some other people you know. Maybe you’re in a season where you’re serving or giving or sacrificing, and you’re feeling good about what He thinks of you. In “musical chairs” terms, if the music stopped right now you’d be golden!
If you’re like most people, the seasons of your life tend to ebb and flow—good times and not-so-good times. Maybe you’re just hoping that in the end, your good stuff will outweigh the bad and your average will be respectable.
I have some very good news. When God looks at us, He doesn’t just see us as we are in the moment. He sees our potential and all that we can be for Him. He sees our whole timeline at once. He doesn’t just shake His head in frustration over our current poor choices or missed opportunities. He actually sees what’s next, and next, and next.
A great example, and an encouraging one, is the way Jesus perceived Peter. Impulsive, sometimes unstable, speak-before-you-think Peter seemed to be one of Jesus’ favorites. His given name was Simon, but since Jesus saw Simon’s future, He knew his potential. Matthew 16 records the conversation where Jesus changed Simon’s name to Peter, meaning “rock.” Jesus knew that Peter would ultimately be strong, courageous, and influential. He knew Peter would leverage his influence for the building of “the church” and the salvation of many.
At the time of the name change, Peter had not earned it, nor proved himself worthy of the leadership role he would ultimately have. But Jesus knew. Jesus loved him in spite of his impetuous behavior. Jesus respected him in spite of the fact that a little while later Peter’s lack of understanding would cause Jesus to say to him, “Get behind me, Satan!” Ouch.
One of my all-time favorite Bible passages is Psalm 139. I memorized it a couple of summers ago, and I love to pray it out loud. Something about verse 16 overwhelms me every time I say it. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” He’s not writing our stories as we go, surprised by our choices and caught off-guard by our decisions. Every day ordained for me is already written in His book. He knows me and loves me anyway. He knew and loved Peter anyway. He knows and loves you anyway.
So what do you think God thinks about when He thinks about you? I think His Father-heart is filled with joy, knowing your whole story, knowing your extraordinary potential, and knowing what He’s created you to do. All the days ordained for you were written in His book before one of them came to be. I believe that when He thinks about you, He grins from ear to ear. Think about THAT!