Last weekend I was once again complaining to God and each time I would start, I heard, “I see you.” All day long – just quiet and insistent: “I see you.”
OK. That’s nice.
The next morning I saw pictures of babies in Iraq born with horrific birth defects. The result of events which I am somehow partly responsible for and yet could do nothing to stop. Powerful men decide to go to war and we all bear guilt. I told God that humanity is hopeless. It’s time to throw in the towel. We’ll never get this right. And I heard, “I hear you.” Just like the day before – all day long, quietly and insistently: “I hear you.”
OK. God sees me and hears me. I’m not sure what to do with that.
A day or two later, I looked at my beautiful children and felt guilt for bringing them into this world. The truth that they will inevitably suffer for being here has become all too real to me. I can’t stop it from happening and truth to be told, would probably make things worse if I tried. I told God that I shouldn’t have brought children into this world which he should really go ahead and give up on anyhow. And I heard, “I know you.” Just like the prior days.
The “I know you” feels a little like a vote of confidence.
The next day I sat with these three messages: “I see you. I hear you. I know you.” Anything else?, I asked. “I want you.” Something in me finds this hard to believe, but I push that aside and decide to go with it.
So, you see me, you hear me, you know me and you want me. I think of a dear old friend and hear, “I see her, I hear her, I know her and I want her.” I ask about one of my sons. Again, “I see him, I hear him, I know him and I want him.”
It occurs to me that God hasn’t said, “I love you.” But then I realize that this is exactly what he’s saying. What does it mean to be loved other than to be seen, heard, known and desired?
We expect so many things from God and it can be very painful when God doesn’t deliver on them. But perhaps the core reality is that we are seen, heard, known and desired by God because this is what love is. This is what we are promised. And like the great commandment, every other law and promise is contained in and flows from this simple notion of love: to be seen, heard, known and desired.