Knowing how precious you are to your heavenly Father changes everything.
I'm going to share something with you that not very many people—even my close friends—know about me: I'm a doll collector. I absolutely love dolls. Though I have some I have saved from the time I was a young girl, my interest in dolls has grown since my three children have advanced in age—perhaps because I miss having little ones around.
Whatever the reason, the dolls are a great substitute: They're always pleasant to look at, they don't talk back and they're maintenance free!
One doll I acquired recently is a particular favorite of mine. Designed to look like a toddler, she is dressed in what appears to be a Christian school uniform and comes with a book and a pair of eyeglasses. Though she has an Asian face and dark hair (I was born a blonde), she couldn't be a better representation of the person I see myself to be—a perpetual student who always has some type of reading material in her hand.
I have her sitting on a chair in front of my computer. One day not long ago I glanced at her as I was walking by, and I couldn't help smiling. Just the sight of her—so perfectly crafted, sweet-faced and "studious"—gave me a pleasant feeling inside. Almost as soon as I had registered the thought of how special she is, I heard the Holy Spirit whisper into my spirit: "That's the way God feels about you. He delights in you. He loves looking at you."
Instantly I had an almost tangible sense that God was gazing at me that very moment with a smile on His face, just as I had been looking at the doll.
That realization really gave me something to smile about! It was a bit hard to grasp, I admit; I had trouble laying hold of the idea that God gets a similar, though much greater, satisfaction from looking down on me. But the Bible confirms what I heard the Holy Spirit say: Our Father delights in His children.
David wrote in the Psalms, "The Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me" (Ps. 18:18-19, NASB). Isaiah declared that the righteous would be "a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord" and would be called "My delight is in her" (Is. 62:3-4). "For the Lord delights in you," he prophesied, "... and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you" (vv. 4-5).
Zephaniah also used the term rejoice with regard to the way God feels about His people. "He [the Lord] will rejoice over you with shouts of joy," the prophet said (Zeph. 3:17).
Most of us can believe God loves us in a general sense, but does He truly enjoy us so much as individuals that just looking at us makes Him smile? I believe my experience—and more significantly, God's Word—prove that He does.
And if we walk in the knowledge of how He sees us, we will be changed. For what child does not thrive in the presence of a father's loving gaze?