God Honors You

Everyone knows God loves them, or at least they should. References to John 3:16 are everywhere: “For God so loved the world …”

Sure, some of us are so prideful as to think we’re bad enough to get out from under God’s love, but Romans 8:38-39 says nothing can pull us apart from the love of God. Seriously.

It lists all kinds of things that can’t separate us from God’s love – life, death, angels, demons, things now, things to come, “nor anything else in all creation.”

“Anything else in all creation” includes us.

It’s like that book I read to my 11-month-old kid called “Mama, Do You Love Me?” The little girl imagines things she thinks she could do to make her mother not love her. Every time, the mother tells her how she would feel about her actions (sad, surprised, afraid), but that she would still love her.

Many of us are parents and can’t imagine that our kids could do anything to make us love them less, but we’re used to the idea that we could do something to make God love us less. We can’t. End of story.

But this week I came upon Isaiah 43:4, one of my all-time favorite verses. It starts, “Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you …” and goes on to tell the people of God all that God has done for them.

“You are honored.” Honored? By God? That’s not how this works – we’re supposed to be the ones honoring God, not the other way around. But Isaiah 43:4 says God honors people.

That word “honor” is an ancient word from a Hebrew root word that sounds something like “kabad.” “Kabad” means “heavy” or “weighty.”

If someone says, “I don’t give a lot of weight to what you say,” it means they don’t think your opinion is important. On the other hand, “I give a lot of weight to what you say” means you should probably think very carefully before you answer the person who told you that.

God gives a lot of weight to you, and I’m not talking about your New Year’s resolution. When you whisper, “Dear God,” God’s ears perk up.

Even when you don’t, God gives a lot of weight to what you do and say. You are a one-of-a-kind masterpiece made by God in God’s image and likeness, and God is, quite frankly, a little bit obsessed with you. When you talk, God pays attention.

God gives weight to what you say, and to what you do.

God, the creator of the universe, who knows every one of the uncountable stars by name, and who gives life to every living thing, thinks you are important.

So if something’s bugging you, tell God. There are no guarantees about outcome, other than that God will take it seriously.

If something makes you happy, send up a prayer of thanks. It’ll make God’s day. Because God honors you.

This column appeared in The Herald-Palladium on January 12, 2019.