God delights in us even with, no especially with, all our junk that we bring. It is much easier to say than it is to experience on real levels. Going through this journey did help us experience more of His Delight.
Later as I read Brennan Manning's book Ruthless Trust I began to further own my core identity as Abba's Child.
I want you to imagine you approaching the Creator of the universe. What is your posture? Are you running, arms flailing and head thrown back? Are you hiding, like a child in trouble, unsure that He even wants you there? Are you walking steadily toward Him, sure that He loves you? Are you crawling, barely able to utter a sound as you pull yourself toward Him with every fiber of your soul, completely spent by the time you reach Him.
Now, imagine you in Abba's lap. Imagine you being held and rocked as you converse with Abba in baby talk. Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you feel His delight as He embraces you and gazes on you with love?
Knowing I am delighted in gives me the security and freedom to face the pain in my life, to enter the messy process of life, of restoring my marriage. If I can live with Abba’s child as my core identity, I can begin to taste the freedom and glory of being His child.
I spent the three years of my affair appearing to be in the posture of running headlong toward God with all that I had. I was the superstar volunteer at church. We had been baptized in May and by August we were teaching Sunday School to three-year-olds. You don't really need maturity in faith to teach three-year-olds, right? And soon after that, we began helping with the Youth Group. I began singing in the choir, I helped out at every potluck, and as Baptists, we had lots of potlucks. Essentially, we were at the church every time the doors were open. The only problem was that in reality I was running away from Him as fast and as far as I possibly could. I was nowhere near His lap.
I was like the younger prodigal son in Luke 15. He was in the far country, nowhere near Home and the Father. Then the younger brother came to his senses. He started the journey home thinking he would just be one of His Father's servants since he didn't feel worthy to be his son anymore. While he was a long ways off the Father saw him. In a shameful act in his culture, he hiked up his robes baring his legs and sprinted to his lost son. When the Father got to him he kissed his face. The verb tense doesn't denote a single kiss. It implies that the Father kissed his son's face and kissed it and kissed it again. He couldn't stop kissing his son with delight and love at his return.
Imagine the Father seeing you, and sprinting to you. Visualize him kissing your face with excitement and tenderness.
I seldom felt worthy to receive His kisses…Is it tough for you to imagine God kissing your face tenderly?
Matthew 25:40 “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
Who do you consider as one of the least of these? Stop and get an image, a face in your mind.
Have you ever in your life stopped to ponder...
what if the least of these is…ME?
Now as one of the least of these imagine the Father kissing your face again.
Considering all this brings me and hopefully you to an intimacy with God and to a place of worship.