It may seem like an odd question for a 4-year-old to ask if you don't know his family. You see, Caedon is the oldest of three (soon to be four) boys, and as you can imagine by brother and sister-in-law have their hands full. It's easy to understand then why my nephew would see the other boys as a rival for his daddy's affection given that my brother can't possibly devote all of his attention to just one of them. But what truly amazes me about the question he's asking is that it indicates that at four years of age he's already grappling with the inner need to be loved and affirmed! This isn't because my brother and sister-in-law don't show their affection enough or do their best to ensure that Caedon is made to feel secure, but rather his question is an expression of that insecurity we ALL struggle with in life. We all need to know that we matter to those we look up to. And fortunately for my nephew, there is no shortage of praise and affirmation from my brother when the question is posed.
But what if my brother and his wife stopped there? What if my brother and sister-in-law never took the time to introduce my nephew to the One who truly matters most? I truly believe that they would fail my nephew if they neglected to introduce him to the unconditional love of the Heavenly Father. While the love and acceptance of our parents is crucial not just in childhood but even as adults as we venture into the world, there is a love and acceptance that is even more life-changing and eternal. The love of God. You see, human love can fail. We can mess up and disappoint those around us, and even in some cases cause those who matter to turn their backs on us. But the love of God never fails. His acceptance of us is unconditional. What is left for us is to choose whether or not to accept it and the grace He so freely gives.
While I want my nephew to be affirmed and built up every time he asks his daddy “am I your favorite?”, what I want more is to know that my nephew is being pointed to the One who can offer him eternal security. I want to know that my nephew can look beyond the validation of his parents and peers, and find his worth in the One who created him. I want to know that someday soon he’ll be asking God, “am I your favorite?”, and finding the arms of the Father open wide for him as he finds peace in a love that truly will last forever.
I may not be rich. Don't wear fashion clothes. Don't live in a mansion. Don't have much that shows. Never won a contest in popularity. Don't have much to offer, but Jesus still loves me.