That afternoon, every lady in the office stopped to admire the beautiful flowers, asking who was the lucky girl. Nobody knew.
That is a picture of how our relationship with God often works. God sends amazing, incredible gifts every day to every person on the planet. He brightens our day with a sunrise and sprinkles the air with songbirds. He gives us strength and health and food and good minds and opportunities. He gives us positive and encouraging thoughts and people. And 100 other ways, he fills our days with good things. We fall asleep knowing the sun will rise again tomorrow.
Why does God give so many good things? For the same reasons that grandparents spoil their grandchildren. God loves us and delights in giving us good things. It makes God smile when we smile.
But somehow the nametags got misplaced. We don’t realize the wonderful blessings include a message saying, “To me. From God.” We think the gifts are for the masses, all those other people all over the globe. We might reason, “of course God loves me. God loves and blesses everyone.” But sometimes I wonder if God even knows my name.
In recent years, God has been giving me a growing sense that this relationship is personal. Yes, God loves the world, and God loves John Grant. Personally. Specifically. By name. Even when I sin and act like God’s enemy, even then God loves me. And it has changed my life. God loves you in the exact same way.
As I reflect on my experience of feeling God’s delight in me, I describe it as “seeing the smile of God.” No actual vision of God smiling. Yet when I think of what God has been doing in my soul, I sense his pleasure and joy, and I know that God is smiling. It makes me smile to think of God smiling.
I wish everyone could see the smile of God.
Jesus once invited his friends to “Make yourself at home in my love” (John 15:9), and that invitation is open to everyone. Yet too many people, including many church attenders, experience God as an angry, distant, rulemaking judge who cannot be bothered by worms like us. More like a Disney villain than the loving Father, Son and Spirit we meet in scripture.
And like that husband waiting for his wife to call and say thanks, God must wonder if we got the message.
If more people could experience a tiny dose of God’s stunning, passionate love, and if each of us could know that it is specifically for me, it would change the world.
In the song “Overwhelmed,” Big Daddy Weave says it well – “I delight myself in You, Captivated by Your beauty, I’m overwhelmed by you.” When you know that God is smiling at you, you are overwhelmed. Your life is complete. That is no overstatement – everything gets right once you experience the smile of God.
When you see the smile of God, you are never alone. You feel a constant, loving presence that feeds your soul every day.
When you see the smile of God, it changes your outlook. Whether your days are good or bad, you can draw from a deep well of hope, joy, and peace.
When you see the smile of God, it gives your life direction and purpose. God’s smile is contagious – you want to pass it on.
When you see the smile of God, it teaches you to be kind and loving to everyone you meet, not as a doormat but with strength and confidence. Every relationship grows in health. Everyone around you is blessed.
May you see the smile of God today, and may it impact every second of this day for good.
John Grant is a minister at College Hills Church of Christ in Lebanon. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher each month.