This past weekend felt like a never ending work shift…plus a marathon…multiplied by a couple of all nighters to the 10th power. My wife will argue that I’m exaggerating. I will gladly debate her on that.
But…it was well worth it.
To see the kind of smile on my oldest daughter’s face that I saw, surrounded by her best friends, eating her favorite seafood, and enjoying her 18th birthday party…I wouldn’t trade any of that for the world.
Seeing the beautiful young woman that she has grown into, while simultaneously reflecting on the childhood years that I’ll never see again, I’m left with a real bittersweetness that I think leans more on the sweet side. Sure, there have been some really rough moments, some frustrating and disappointing moments…but they’re far outweighed by the joy of just having her as my daughter.
I also find myself suddenly thinking, Is this how God really feels about me?
It’s hard for me to fathom at first. I must admit that I have a recurring tendency to picture God looking down on me with disappointment…as if I’ve failed Him one too many times to be a kid He could ever be proud of.
But recently, a pastor advised me to spend some quiet time embracing the “smile of God”.
As far as I can tell, it’s a theological concept that describes God the Father’s posture to those who have accepted the atoning work of His Son, those who have been adopted into His family. He no longer looks at us in light of our sin. He sees the reflection of Jesus in us.
And it makes Him smile.
In much the same way that my daughter’s shortcomings don’t diminish my love for her, my failures don’t diminish God’s abundant love for me. He’s smiling on me even as I type this. And it gives me a comfort that is beyond words.
As hard as it is to believe at times, He sees me as well worth it, too.