My thirteen-year-old son, Daniel, is Southern to the core. He is an accomplished hunter, an award-winning fisherman, and he knows how to hull sunflower seeds in his mouth - something I will probably never master! Recently he decided to give his mom an introduction to some of his favorite country songs. Contrary to my expectations I actually really enjoyed them. One song in particular strongly resonated with me. "He is Mine!" is what country singer Rodney Atkins declares about his teenage son, who comes running to him for safety. Despite the fact that his boy is on trouble with the neighbors for smoking and shooting beer bottles while trespassing on their property, the father embraces and claims him wholeheartedly. "He is mine," he proudly tells them and no action on his son's part could ever change this.
Through his song, this father gives us a perfect example of unconditional love, without condoning a single part of his boy's actions. Atkins clearly reflects the father-heart of God. God is speaking to his children in the same way when He says, "You are mine." (Is. 43:1b) Even when we get into trouble, He still claims us as His own. My propensity is to hide from God in shame when I have sinned against Him. Like Adam and Eve I doubt that He would still want to be with me. Instead, God longs to embrace us as we come running to Him, just as Rodney Atkins displayed in his song.
Nothing that we do can cause God to stop loving us. God claims us completely, not only when we are doing well. Sometimes it takes a Southern boy and his favorite country song for us to really grasp this truth!
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine." (Isaiah 43:1b)