For a long time, when I pictured God in my head, I thought of Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty – an elderly guy, sat on a cloud, looking down on me and judging the way that I do things.

The God in my head sees everything, but that did not feel good: it felt like I constantly had a looming headteacher figure looking over my shoulder, tutting at my mistakes. When I tripped, he would pick me up and land me back on my feet – but it felt like I had to start again, working my way back up into His good books.

Maybe this is similar to the image of God that you have in your head, sometimes: the old man sat above us, stroking his beard. He’s the guy that you only really need to think about at Christmas and Easter, if that – because the rest of the time, he’s just sat up there, minding his own business. He’s God – He’s got bigger things to think about, right?

Everything that I have learnt in the past few years has shown me that God is the absolute opposite of this picture. I’ve gotten to know a big, big God, who created the world – but who wanted me so much that he made me. The God that I know does not look down on me but walks beside me – He’s with me, feeling the things that I feel, knowing exactly what I’m thinking and what my heart is doing.

Throughout history, God has had so much tender love for the people that He created. To the Israelites, He said:

“It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with tides of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them”. – Hosea 11:3-4

The God that said this, to me, looks like a father – bending down to show kindness and love to his children; so different to that old man sat on the cloud. It speaks of a God teaching his children to walk, filled with tenderness and grace – not tutting at them when they get it wrong. His children were hurt, and He responded as any Father would – by bending down and comforting them.

We are part of this same story – like the people of Israel, we are God’s people, and He loves us with this same tenderness and grace. The Bible says that when we know Christ, we become children of God:

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” – Romans 8:17.

God is not this far-away being, sat on a cloud. He is my Father: He bends down to me, He picks me up when I fall. And what’s more – this isn’t a chore to God – He gets joy from loving me!

“Look at the birds of the air: they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life? – Matthew 6:26-27

The things that are valuable to us bring us joy. God created us, in a particular place, at a particular time, for a purpose: and that means that we are not an accident. We’re valuable to Him, and we are here for a reason.

I sat on a park bench recently, and watched a little girl feeding the ducks. The ducks were crowding around her legs, eager for the next lump – but there was so much joy on her face. She was feeding them, and they were giving her joy.

We need God – I need God. He’s the source for my life, and my energy, and my passion – but I also know that I bring Him so much joy. When He looks at me, He isn’t scolding me – He enjoys my company.


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