BY SARAH CHO
I asked my youth pastor last week, “Has your perspective on God’s love changed since your son’s birth?”
His son, little David, is approaching his second birthday next month. He is just about the most precious little boy ever. He is quick to smile, and likes to learn how to do “big people stuff” such as vacuuming or speaking into a microphone. He also cries a lot, but if you make funny faces at him, he is quick to lighten up again.
My youth pastor answered the question vaguely last week, but this week he recalled it and confessed: “As I was thinking about the question, I realized something. I am happiest when David smiles. Although as a father I can’t tend to his every need, I love it every time he smiles.” Then he proceeded to say, “I think it is the same way with our Father in heaven. He hurts when we hurt. And because we are made in his image, we can infer from our own sentiments that he rejoices when we are joyful as any father would upon seeing his child. God wants us to be happy.”
His testimony reminded me of another relevant experience during my visit to Korea this summer. Towards the end of our trip, I tagged along with my mom as she met up with one of her high school friends. I had been playmates with her daughter and was hoping to see her. I didn’t, though, because she happened to be in America for a study-abroad program, but her mother did say something that left an imprint on my mind. “I don’t know if you realize, Sarah, but when my daughter is happy, I am happy. Even if things are going well for me, I can’t be happy if my daughter isn’t. Even though I’d like to talk to her on the phone, I can’t help but smile when she tells me she’ll call me back later because she’s too busy having fun. That’s the way a mother’s heart works.”
I think it’s understandable for us to think that in order to please our parents and our Father above, we must sacrifice with burdened hearts. The greater the toil, the greater the reward, right? Right… and wrong. It’s not the struggle itself that God looks at. I believe God looks upon the heart that pleads to serve, the heart that gives all its worth cheerfully. He simply wants our hearts, and sacrifice is a willing product of the heart’s pure desires. So that when we fail in our lives and disappoint him, we are quick to repent and heed his words of forgiveness that guarantee our faith-based righteousness. There is no point in dwelling on our own miseries when God has already forgiven us. That would simply undermine the power of the Cross.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)
Where is your focus? Is it on the sufferings of this world, or is it on the divine victory that has already been achieved by the Cross?