You know the verse. You probably even memorized it as a kid.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)

Have you ever struggled to wrap your head around, much less believe, that kind of love?

What makes “God loves me” so hard to grasp, even for believers?

Often our definition of love is too shallow. Our minds can’t fathom what it’s like to be loved that much. And we miss another key factor . . .

God Doesn’t Just Love You

Grace reveals that when God loves, He doesn’t love clinically like a dictionary definition. God likes us too! What if you have a Heavenly Father who not only loves you enough to save you from a horrible eternity apart from Him, but Who actually enjoys you, delights in you, and wants to be around you? What if you have a Father who truly likes you?

While it may seem a nuance at first glance, a definite distinction exists between love and like. My friend tells the story of a couple he knew in college. Kelsey shared a drama class with several other students. As often happens in those classes where you make a fool of yourself regularly, the group grew close and soon began hanging out after class time. Bob, Kelsey’s fiancé, often joined the group.

One night the friends were leisurely chatting when Bob suddenly declared, “You know, Kelsey, I really like you.”

“Oh, gimme a break, Bob. Come on, we know you love her,” another guy groaned. “You’re gonna marry her!”

“No, no, of course I love her,” Bob agreed, “but I’m saying I really, really like her too . . . .”

You could’ve heard a pin drop in the beautiful pause that filled the room. Then one by one enlightened smiles slowly lit each face.

paper heartWhy is it that our brains say, “Yeah, yeah, of course you love me,” but “You like me” is harder to accept? For me, “like” conjures memories of lined notebook paper scribbled with “Check yes or no” tossed at your desk during study hall. That picture’s not as far from reality as you might think. When you like a person, you want them around, you delight in them, you enjoy relationship with them, and you usually get a little goofy about it.

The same is true of God with you. He delights in you. He craves intimate relationship with you. He wants to be around you. Did you know God adores His children so much He writes songs about them? See if that doesn’t conjure some fun mental pictures of guitars, second-floor windows, and late-night crooning from all the sappy movies you’ve ever seen. God is so glad that you are you, He sings about it to any angel who will listen! God loves you madly, and He plain ol’ likes you too.

He Loves and Likes You Today

So today as you navigate ordinary life, think about God smiling a happy smile. Meditate on the truth that He not only loves you wildly, but likes you too! He’s pondering ways right now to show you how much He adores and enjoys you. Keep your eyes wide open for evidence of His love and grace today.

And as you allow these truths to soak into your soul, glance around and see how life looks and feels different. Guilt, worry, and “not enough” melt in the presence of such great Love and Grace!


*Portions of this post are taken from my book, Grace Changes Everything: How to Be Enough in a Do-More World, released in September, 2016.