It isn’t vain or selfish to believe God, your Father, longs to completely restore your relationship with him. He IS the dad in Jesus’ story of the prodigal son. (The story is in Luke 15:11-32, but please read all the parables in Luke 15) Believe what God tells you about himself! That is his heart, how he sees you. The accusations of selfishness, of vanity, of arrogance you may sense when daring to consider and bet on the idea that he truly wants you are not from your Father. Your sin isn’t a mystery to him; he doesn’t need you to inform him of how bad you are. He calls you to confess, not for information, but because he knows the barrier between the two of you is composed of your guilt and shame over your rebellion. It’s the barricade hitting your shins over and over when you long for peace, and you have to admit it’s there before he can bring you past it. (Psalm 32:3-5) The deep pull of shame and condemnation is so easy to concede to because you know full well what you’ve done, where you’ve been, and the opposing ranks savor pouring buckets of hot reminders over you. For those who’ve experienced judgment by law without grace, that shame feels corroborated. But Jesus is in authority over all of eternity, and he is still craning his neck searching the road for you, desiring that you’ll believe him instead. Doesn’t his opinion and perspective matter more than any other? (Romans 8:31-39; 1 John 3:19-20) Reject the world’s and the devil’s assertion of who and what you are. It’s absurd to either listen to or argue with the father of lies and unproductive to debate a world unfamiliar with grace. But the one who designed you and made you has intention for your future. God will glorify himself, certainly, and he has told us how: Through the gospel! By loving us, his children, dearly, raising us to real life through Jesus and showing his glory through our love for him and his family. (Matthew 5:16; Matthew 22:37-40; John 13:34-35; Romans 15:8-9) There are tons of voices in the world and even in the Church asserting what we are to do, what we are to believe. Many are helpful, grounded in God’s word and led by the Holy Spirit; many are well-intentioned but fueled by motives outside the Spirit’s guidance; others are seeking only their own glorification. But you are a treasure to God, valuable and worth searching and longing for! Yes, Jesus died that all people would come to him to be saved and through that bring glory to God; that is his desire, but he also died for you, [insert your name here], individually. Love is not self-centered but giving, sacrificing, longing. Love is not weak but the ultimate strength and power. (John 16:26-27; 1 Corinthians 13) Be careful what kind of worldly assumptions you might be making about God’s motivation without realizing it. Start with his own description and believe. He wants you. Please find his voice amidst the clamor, and believe his words to you through the Bible. Search for those places where he shows you his character and deep heart toward you. It’s okay for it to be simple. Come home, and let him hold you.