God is Mad
Prepositions are important. They can significantly change the meaning of a sentence with just their presence. For many of us, the words god is mad tell a story that deepen a sense of unworthiness and wretchedness that some preachers and teachers seem to relish explaining. The world around us and some of our human relationships may have also reinforced a message that we are not lovable unless we perform in specific ways. It’s a transactional kind of “love” which might be described as no love at all. So, we hear those words and supply the word “at” because of the underlying idea that God is at mad at us.
However, the words “about” is a much more accurate preposition to use when we hear those three words. God is mad about you! This completely reverses the meaning and trajectory of those words. He is crazy about you. He has deep affection and even passion flowing from the depths of who He is. Are there layers, depth, and nuance to God’s stance toward us? Of course. And yet, the foundation is one of passionate, captivating love.
Often, theologians describe a “legal” standing that we have before God because of the cross of Christ which can feel quite cold and dispassionate. While there is certainly deep meaning in the cross, the default or “factory setting” in the relationship we have with God is one of intense love and affection. Also, many of us tend to see God primarily as an authority figure and perhaps even coldly stoic in His duties to care for and sustain His creation because of how our earthly parental relationships shaped us. On the contrary, cold and/or dispassionate is not how God describes Himself.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, we are given a picture of divine love in which God says, “You have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes.” (Song of Songs 4:9) Another way to say it: “I look into your eyes and I am in love.” God is in love with you. He is crazy about you. Sit with this for moment. Pause. Don’t move on too fast.
God is described as being overwhelmed by you, captured in heart.
To develop this a bit more, it is helpful to see the poetry of the Hebrew which quite literally says: “you have hearted me.” In other words, you have my heart. You’ve taken my heart. In the back and forth relationship of pursuit and desire we observe in the Song of Songs, God says, “you checkmated me.” “You’ve got me.”
Hear this, know this, believe this, trust this: God says to us, “You have my heart.”
As you consider this, how do you receive this reality? Do you notice anything shifting in you? Are there views and perceptions you have had of God which might be more in line with the idea that God is mad at you? How has that affected the way you have related back to Him? How might your approach and relationship with God shift in knowing that He is mad about you?
In 1 John 3, we are invited to look at, or “behold,” the love of the Father. What is invited is not merely an intellectual exercise although it involves the mind. It is an experience of contemplation … of being shaped by this reality in mind and heart.
From centuries ago, church mothers and fathers wrestled with what it means to engage in this kind of contemplation. What emerged was a four-fold process involving: reading, meditating, contemplating, and praying. Take a few minutes (or, more) and walk through the exercise below as you contemplate the love and affection God has for you.
“You have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes.” (Song of Songs 4:9)
Meditate on this verse. Mull it over. Notice how this truth lands in your heart. Consider the ways it might reshape some things for you.
Simply sit in a stillness and quietness of heart … resting in the reality that you do not have a transactional relationship with God. You can be quiet and release your hold on all things because you have nothing to prove, nothing to achieve, nothing to earn.
Respond to God by praying what you notice rising up in your heart and soul as you consider the depths of His love for you.