I know a 3-year-old boy who has a lot to say.
“It’s a blue sky; there’s no clouds!”
“What’s that sound?”
“Nonnie, what’s on your shirt?”
“It’s very beautiful!”
“I like that!”
He truly doesn’t miss a thing.
It’s so fun to be around little children who are not only able to observe the world around them, but can finally describe what they see. Because once they can, they usually don’t have just a few observations. They have many. And they enjoy sharing them. Usually at the top of their lungs.
One of the great joys in life is to ask a preschooler what they think. It’s always cute to hear their point of view, to learn how they view the world, to see things the way they see them. Oftentimes it’s hilarious what their minds can come up with. And sometimes what comes out is surprisingly profound.
I know a 6-year-old girl who has had a different story. For some reason, she hasn’t been able to learn to speak.
She observes the world around her. She likes certain things, and dislikes others. She feels many things. The world affects her. But she has trouble making these things known to the people around her. She isn’t able to fully express her opinions. If it weren’t for body language cues and other subtle forms of communication, her mind would be a complete mystery.
I was thinking about this the other day when it made me a little bit sad.
Her life is worthwhile. She is beautiful, loved, and has a purpose. There is no doubt in my mind of these things.
But in a time where people are often encouraged to use their voice, someone like her could so easily slip through the cracks.
Thinking about it made me realize how grateful I am for the ability to express myself with words. It’s one of those little things in life we can so easily take for granted.
And it made me consider something else about what it means to be human, and what it means to be loved.
“What Do You Think?”
The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman is a ministry I think about a lot. His life’s work is the study of how we as individuals feel most loved and appreciated, in a couple broad categories: Receiving Gifts, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Words of Affirmation.
I love his books. It is so helpful to think about how to best love and be loved.
And I realized the other day that hearing the words, “what do you think?” might be the way I feel most loved. There is something so meaningful about knowing that someone cares how something affects you. That someone has a genuine desire to know what your opinion is.
To be seen and truly loved is such a wonderful thing. To be known and loved is indescribable. But to be heard and still loved? That might be the best feeling in the world.
From being heard about the tiny, seemingly insignificant matters in life, to the big, heady issues of our day.
“Do you like this painting best in this corner, or on the other wall?”
“Did you see that story on the news today? I cannot believe it. What do you make of it?”
I think it’s why counselors are able to make good money asking people, “and how does that make you feel?”
It’s because we want to know that someone cares what we think. We want to know that someone sees us, knows us, and isn’t indifferent to us. We want to matter, even if it is just to one person.
God Cares What We Think
Sometimes it feels like nobody on the planet cares what we think. It’s probably not true. But even if it were true, we have a God who cares what we think more than people care, anyway.
It’s not just an empty cliche. He actually does. He formed us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). The hairs of our heads are numbered (Matthew 10:30). The Creator of everything, who doesn’t have to care about us at all, actually does. He cares enough to have given us Jesus (John 3:16).
He is Creator of the mind, and all of its complexities. He is the designer of the human brain, and its ability to comprehend, to observe, to analyze, and to discern. He knows about its frustrating potential to over-analyze, overthink, and obsess. None of the issues of the mind, as scary as they may get for us sometimes, are shocking to the Creator of the mind.
He cares about what we think, what we feel, what we like, what we want, why we feel scared, why we are weary (2 Peter 5:7). He cares when we tell Him we are having doubts (Mark 9:24). He cares when we tell Him we are tempted, and we don’t want to be (1 Corinthians 10:13). He cares about when we tell Him the Bible isn’t making that much sense to us (Proverbs 2:4-5). He cares about it all.
The Bible is one big book that God wrote to tell us humans that He cares about what we think and what we feel.
God is not dependent on our opinions. He doesn’t need us to think good thoughts about Him. But He wants us to. He cares what we think, and He wants us to care what He thinks (1 John 5:2).
And the best part of being heard by God? He doesn’t even need our words (Romans 8:26).
The God of the universe hears the chattiest among us, and He hears those who have never uttered a word in their entire life. He hears us just the same.
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.