“This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
Henri Nouwen writes, “These words revealed the true identity of Jesus as the beloved. Jesus truly heard that voice, and all of his thoughts, words, and actions came forth from his deep knowledge that he was infinitely loved by God. Jesus lived his life from that inner place of love…I know now that the words spoken to Jesus when he was baptized are words spoken also to me.”
I wake some days with a hint of sadness hovering around my inner world like early morning mist that gathers in the low places. The mist is tinted with colors of regret and guilt from the past, and carry on it the scents of my present inadequacies and shortcomings. I lay in the dark of morning wondering about the coming day, wondering if these sorrows will grow into a dense fog that I cannot navigate, or if the warmth of the rising sun will simply evaporate them into nothingness. I finally rise and with cup of coffee in hand sit with Jesus a while. Being with him reminds me, as Nouwen observed, that I am the beloved. I need reminding of that it seems like every moment of every day. I am so quick to forget. So quick to turn back to my old way of being. Turning back to continual self-hatred, self-condemnation, and self-recrimination. I wander throughout my inner world, my nose in the air with criticisms and critiques, viewing perceived flaws without compassion.
Oswald Chambers wrote, “What is the sign of a friend? That he tells you secret sorrows? No, that he tells you secret joys. Many will confide to you their secret sorrows, but the last mark of intimacy is to confide secret joys. Have we ever let God tell us any of his secret joys…?” When I hear Jesus say to me, “You are my Beloved. I am so in love with you, and always have been, just who you are in each present moment of your life.”, I am arrested in my wanderings of false righteousness by the unselfconscious love of God. It changes me. Rather, what changes me is the belief of what he says. His secret joy is me. Only he knows my inner world fully. The light and dark. The mountains and valleys. The almost infinite shades of me. He is intimately acquainted with all of me and yet says “I love you” to me with the utmost sincerity and truth. I am his secret joy. My heart delights him, and his heart is the heart of God.
The mists of sorrow melt away in the warm rays of his furious love for me, and bathe my inner landscape with newness of morning light, placing in sharp relief the beauty of every dewdrop tear and grassy blade on my prairie of experiences. My brooding Mountains of Inadequacy are transformed as God’s lovelight defines their created majesty against the blue sky of his smile. He made me, and declared with joy, “It is very good.”
Abiding every moment in Abba God’s love, I am no longer of the world, but only in it. No longer am I concerned with how the world views me, but can walk the gift of this life in the freedom of the beloved. Living my life as the beloved, I walk with the confidence of fully belonging. I am perfectly and wonderfully made for this life and for this time. What I have to offer is good because he is good and he is in me. It is the most important thing I can believe about myself. That his words are true, and his words to me are, “I love you.”.