by Ken Rolheiser
God sees us and still loves us

Research says we make three to six errors per hour, an average of fifty mistakes per day. Edison’s search for a filament that works in light bulbs was difficult. “I’ve simply determined 10,000 approaches that don’t work,” he said.

Author of Harry Potter J.K. Rowling once called herself “the biggest failure I knew,” as she was despairing over loss of her mother, on welfare with a toddler to support, and going to college while trying to write.

“Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” (John 1:48). The Hebrew name for God sees is El Roi. Nathaniel realizes that he was known by God, that he was loved, and decides to follow Jesus.

Abraham had been trying to conceive with Sarah, his wife. God promised he would have many descendants. But Sarah continued to be barren. Sarah eventually suggested Abraham have a child with their servant Hagar, who conceived. 

This caused enough dissent in the family that Hagar ran into the wilderness where she would surely perish. But God sent an angel to look after her. In Genesis 16:13 Abraham’s servant Hagar said, “You are El Roi, the God who sees me.”  

Later God saw the Israelites in slavery and delivered them to freedom. When God sees us, as no one else sees us, he has compassion and responds with love. The bible teaches us that.

It is difficult for parents to watch their children learn by making mistakes. When a sixteen-year-old puts a knife into a live toaster (actual case) there is concern. Mistakes in dating choices are trying for parents and children. That is life. But parents don’t stop loving their children.

God is the Prodigal Father waiting for us to return when we stray. God is the Good Shepherd who sees us weather storms and when predators threaten us. God is always anxious to embrace us and take us back into the flock.

St Paul says, “All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). There are temptations in our lives, and we struggle imperfectly with these. We may be disillusioned about whether our successes outweigh our failures. But God is constantly watching over his sheep.

God searches for us when we stray. He knows what every good parent knows – kids struggle and make mistakes. Parents allow children to make mistakes they will learn from. Children make age-appropriate choices even if the risk of failure is high. Learning life lessons builds autonomy.

In our moral development right choices have more serious implications. Though we flounder at perfection, we can choose a life direction that leads us back to God. What joy in heaven when we allow God to carry us back to the flock! 

Just as God chose Abram (Genesis 12:1) to go to “a land that I will show you,” God has chosen us and made a covenant with us. He will bless us and bless others through us. He will watch over us and guide our lives through the Holy Spirit. Is He not our Father?

Buddha said, “The biggest mistake in life is thinking you have time.” "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." (Anne Frank).

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