This is something that happened last night. A friend was being truly grateful for our friendship. In some ways we have had a tough road here. Each of us has wanted to quit at times, when the Lord was stretching us, putting His finger on pain points, helping us unlearn old codependent “give in order to get” ways, and just expanding our understanding of Him, and how creative He is.
He was thanking me for sticking with him, for listening to him, for being curious about him, for refraining from judging, for not shaming him. He had a lot of things, and I grew uneasy. I don’t handle praise well. It is a weakness. I grew up substituting praise and recognition/attention for listening and love.
I also was uneasy, because the credit should really go to Jesus.
So I turned to Him. I sort of protested, I said that I just like being with Him and that one of the places that He seemed to take me was to establish a friendship with this friend of mine.
I confessed that to my friend. Trying to just say, we are both blessed by His presence in our friendship. My friend said “You just used a word that not a lot of people use in relationship to Jesus. You said ‘like’ ” He said that a lot of people profess love for Jesus, and that is good and true. But, we don’t hear as much “I like Jesus”, or “I like being with Jesus” or “I like talking to Jesus”.
Wow. That was something to think about. My words to Jesus just tumbled out. Somehow, He has added the blessing of liking Him to everything else.
I saw my friend today, and as we talked, I sensed Holy Spirit whisper, Jesus likes you too. That was a surprise. I have a lot of baggage still from home, school, girlfriends, ex-wife, and religion. My emotions tell me more that Jesus puts up with me. He condescends to me. He takes pity on me. And there is truth in all of those things. But, I feel ashamed. I feel that He died for me, and this is all that He got.
On a related note, I like to make paperweights (especially when coached by seasoned glass artists). And I like the paperweights that I make. But it is a different like than the way that I like my friend, or the way I like Jesus. Both are living, and “not me”, so that there is an anticipation of adventure, and not knowing what today will bring. But Jesus created me. Psalm 139:16 says “…in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when, as yet, there was not one of them.” And Paul says in 1 Cor 13:12 that he looks forward to the day when He will know God, even as he is fully known by God.
So I believe Jesus that He likes me. And He created me. He knows me fully. He has never left me, and He never will. In fact, since He also created time, He wrote my days in His book, before there were any. And He likes me. My heart and mind are not yet big enough for that. But, faith is (and that faith is a gift). His word doesn’t return empty. Is 55:11