Precious in God’s Eyes

Everyone wants to feel wanted and loved. No one likes the feeling that they are worthless and unwanted. Yet at one point or another in your life, you will probably struggle with those feelings to some degree or another. And when you do, where will you look for comfort? The worldly individual will search himself for personal qualities that he thinks make him him valuable to society and full of worth in himself. But if, when plagued with feelings of doubt and despair, you try to find something good in yourself, you will come up short and void of consolation. Instead, turn to the ever-comforting Word of God, for there your heavenly Father provides all the comfort you need. There are many examples of God’s love for His elect people that can be found in the Bible, but I would like to look at a few in particular that really illustrate how precious God’s children are to Him.

If you are struggling with your sense of worth, simply consider the fact that God calls you His child. “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (I John 3:1). God cares for those who fear and trust Him as a loving father would for his precious children. God loves His elect so much that He provided the way for them to become His adopted sons and daughters through their older brother and Lord, Jesus Christ. This is the only basis you and I truly have to be assured of our value. Without this knowledge, there would be no reason to believe there is any worth in ourselves at all and to do so would be vain and proud. You are a redeemed child of God, and He loves you as such. You have worth!

Another passages that serves as a comforting reminder to all of God’s children is Zechariah 2:8: “For he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” God calls His chosen people the apple of his eye! The phrase “apple of the eye” refers to the center of the eye – the iris – which is one of the most protected parts of the human body. Think of how protective you are of your eyes, how you reflectively blink and shield your face to prevent anything from damaging your eyes. Think of how much you depend on your eyes, how even an irritated or dry eye can leave you unable to carry on with your daily activities. Think of how precious your eyes and the gift of sight are to you. That is the picture God is painting for His people. You are the apple of His eye, and He will protect you as His most treasured possession. That’s how precious you are to Him.

Another very comforting passage for God’s children is Matthew 10: 29-31: “Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” If you are tempted to believe that you are noticed by no one of importance, this proves otherwise. Whether or not they are consciously aware of it, God is always watching and caring for His people. He holds you, his precious child, in the palm of His hand so that not so much as a hair can fall out of your head without His knowledge and will. How comforting!

Everyone wants to feel valuable, and many seek to find their worth in themselves. They try to find some good virtues in themselves that give them worth. But the only way you can truly find worth is as you view yourself as a beloved child of God through Jesus Christ. Then you possess the comfort that you are loved and treasured by the Almighty Jehovah God of heaven and earth. You are the apple of His eye. You are the object of His constant care and protection. You are His precious child. What more could you need?

Anna Langerak

Who I Am and Who I Am Not

A lot of us have sad and tragic, yet honest stories about our childhoods or lives in general. Some of us have been through a lot more than others. I decided to use a presentation I gave in a college class as an opportunity to witness to you all, by showing you who I really am, who I’m not, and maybe along the way, helping you find out who you are, too. I’d like to start with a quote from Pastor John Piper. He says, “Not only is all your affliction momentary. Not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there. All of it is TOTALLY meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain from the fallen nature or fallen man; every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is working for you a peculiar glory you will get because of that. I don’t care if it was cancer or criticism. I don’t care if it was slander or sickness. Don’t say it’s meaningless. It’s doing something! It’s not meaningless! Of course you can’t see what it’s doing! Don’t look to what is seen. When your mom dies, when your kid dies, when you’ve got cancer at 40. When a car careens into the sidewalk and takes her out… Don’t say, “That’s meaningless!” It’s not. It is working for you an eternal weight of glory. Therefore, therefore, do NOT lose heart. But take these truths and day by day, focus on them. Preach them to yourself every morning. Get alone with God, and preach them into your mind until your heart sings with confidence that you are new and cared for.”

This quote has come to mean so much to me. To tell you why, I’ll start with when I was in the 8th grade. I have a father who is an alcoholic. At 14 years old, I found him in the garage, attempting to take his own life. Thankfully, God was gracious and his attempt was unsuccessful. But such a situation can take a toll on a little girl who thinks about how she could have lost her daddy, no matter how difficult his circumstances with sin made the relationship.

In my junior year of high school, I had another sad event cross my path. I lost my grandma. Not only was she my grandma, but she was my role model, my confidant, and one of my best friends, even if I didn’t get to see her often because she lived out of state. Yes, God took her to be with Him in all His glory in heaven, yet there’s something that is just never the same when you lose a person who means the world to you. But, I pressed on.

I’ve also struggled with different types of mental illness since I was about 10. Anxiety Disorder, Depression, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are the three I’ve had experience with. My senior year of high school, I really struggled with the depression. I was suicidal and did a lot of self-harming to cope with the pain I was feeling internally. I had a lot of support from wonderful friends, and God provided me with the resources to get the help I needed.

Fast forward to a couple years out of high school. Sexual assault. A gross sin and a crime I never would have thought I’d fall victim to. It drains you emotionally. It clouds your vision with fear, guilt, and shame. But this does NOT define me. Like Piper says in his quote, “You are NEW and CARED FOR.”

One might wonder what I’ve learned from all of this. If there is one thing I have learned in all of this, it is that God is good ALL the time. Not just sometimes. Not just when I’m feeling happy. Not just when things are going my way. He is GOOD. ALWAYS. How did I manage to get through this? Only by His grace. Do I still have struggles I face every single day? Yes. Is God still good? Yes. Is God still faithful? Yes! ALWAYS!

Now, all of you may still have the question, “Who am I?” Well, first, I’ll tell you who I’m not. I am not who my Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder says I am. I am not defined by who my earthly father is, and I am not going to let myself wear the label “daughter of an alcoholic.” I am not defined by the different emotions of shame, guilt, fear and all of what comes with having been sexually assaulted. Who am I? “I am the daughter of a King Who is not moved by the world. For my God is with me, and goes before me. I do not fear because I AM HIS.”

“And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord: Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him” (Lamentations 3: 18-24).

Anonymous

Always Aware of His Presence

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.

Psalm 139 has long been one of my favorite psalms. Years ago, this psalm was brought up at the funeral of my father’s brother, which was the moment at which I first experienced how a death feels to those left behind. Thus, the psalm has also become one of the most memorable psalms in my quiver of Bible verses. Even though I was too little to recall much from that day, I remember the psalm being explained as a poem of presence – that is, being always in the presence of God, whether in life or in death.

It’s also taken on meaning for me as I live abroad, reminding me that there are people and places that I’ve left behind, too (whether temporarily or permanently). I look forward to returning to my home church of Grace in Standale, my temporary home of Calvary in Hull, and the bubbles of community in each city. I’ve consistently attended a Dutch church with my host family here, and it’s a wonderful feeling to experience worship in another language! But I am more than qualified to look back now and realize how valuable it is to belong to a community of believers who know and are known by me, a community in which I feel the presence of God communicated through each individual around me.

Still, wherever I end up and wherever I choose to call “home” for the moment is a place where God dwells with me. Where shall I go, away from the Spirit of the Lord? If I were to ascend to the tallest mountains in Central Europe, the Swiss Alps, I would look out over the green hills and white snow and see God in the immensity surrounding me. If I made my bed in the lowest parts of the Netherlands, sometimes 15 or 20 feet (5 or 6m) below sea level, I would sense His presence, His design, in the winding canals and the fields of pastureland. I see His hand of intelligent design in everything around me, and in turn I feel His eyes on me always. If I were to take up a backpack and start out in any direction with no plan and no phone, with none to guide and leaving nothing to remember me by, God would be there with me as well as with those I left behind. I am known by a mighty God, from here in an unfamiliar country (slowly becoming familiar), to a little college town in the middle of Nowhere, the United States of America, the continent of North America, Earth. You and I are so small, a blip on the radar of history, but your history – the places you have been and have called home – are known and remembered by this God we worship together.

As you prepare for worship this coming Lord’s day, consider this psalm (and the many others that speak of God’s presence in the lives of believers). You may be in your comfortable house in a neighborhood where everyone knows your name. You may be a college student in the midst of hundreds or thousands of strangers, planning an early ride with a friend or two to catch the morning service tomorrow. You may be a stranger in an unfamiliar land, across the world from your comfort zone. But wherever you are, God is there. Our God is a mighty and ever-present God.

Ashley Huizinga