‘Isama mo ako sa prayers mo, malakas ka sa taas e.’ (Include me in your prayers, you have strong connections UP THERE.)
I would often get this remark from friends or schoolmates at the height of my service in our parish when I was in high school and college. And though I made an effort to include these people in my prayers, I did not believe them that I have stronger connections in heaven.
If I was God’s favorite, I would have gotten the very single wish I made which was a complete Harry Potter book set then. If I was God’s favorite, then I should be going around here on earth unscathed which is never the case because I have already been bruised, wounded and hurt. I may never have broken a bone yet, but I have broken my own heart.
Saying and believing that God plays favorites is like expecting Him to bless us when we perform good deeds and punish us when we do bad things. It paints a picture of a God who records wrong, counts noble acts, and blesses us according to what we are able to give. If God operates on that premise, life would seem like a computer game where we need to collect as many coins to level up or buy a new weapon or candy or whatever.
But life is more than collecting coins to level up, much more, God’s love is more than a list if there was ever such.
When I was younger, I was always hitched at the back of my father’s motorcycle while he drives. One evening as we were going somewhere, I was fondly looking up at the sky and noticed the bright moon and a huge halo around it. I asked my father, ‘Is that how big the earth is?’ He said, ‘No! The earth is much way bigger than that.’ I asked again, ‘how big can the earth be?’ And he only said, ‘malaking malaki’ (enormous/ gigantic)
Just as my father had a hard time explaining how big the earth to a seven year old me, I am also lost for words in explaining how huge the love of God can be. The love of God is incomparable. We can never say that it’s as huge as the stars or the sun, nor as vast as the universe. God’s love is more than those! As the song says, ‘WE CAN’T CONTAIN IT.’
And though we can never measure the size of God’s love, the Scripture gives us a lot of passages that say how God’s love works.
“For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16
We all know this passage too well, but let me paint a picture of this through a book I read when I was in high school. The book said that God sending His only Son on earth is like a human person being asked to become a worm. Can you imagine yourself transforming into a worm just to save the ‘sangkabulatihan?’ That’s how Jesus loves us, He was God and everything is at His dispense but He chose to be a man to save us and lavish us with love.
“As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more then, will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.” Matthew 7: 11
My earthly father is not perfect but he does his best. He was the one who brought a pizza to our class in grade 2 when we were learning fractions. He was the one who stayed up all night to make me the best pompoms during grade 5 cheering squad competitions (while my classmates had improvised pompoms out of crepe paper or that shiny foil, I had the REAL one made of straw!). He was the one who made me a crown made of real flowers in first year high school when I joined a dance interpretation competition (while my classmate who played the Virgin Mary had fake flowers).
Can you also look back to that one special thing that your parents or a loved one did to you, or sacrificed for you? If our earthly father or mother or a person in our life loves us so much that they’d do everything, how much more our Heavenly Father loves us!
“God is patient and kind. God overcomes anger and forgets offenses. God does not take delight in wrong but rejoices in truth. God excuses everything, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. God will never end.” 1 Corinthians 13
God is love and love is God. Every time I seem to forget this truth, I always go back to that famous portion of Paul’s letter to the people of Corinth. I hope you can also find comfort in these words.
So, does God play favorites? I don’t think He does. He has overflowing love for each one of us. That love that hand-knitted us into our mother’s womb, that love that gave us distinct features among all creation, that love that blesses us with different circumstances every day which shapes us into better versions of ourselves.
The next time you think that God plays favorites, think again. Maybe what you need is not another blessing, but the eyes to see how He has been good, gracious and generous to you. 😉
Let’s count our blessings? 😊
(I will really count my blessings for the year and put them in another blog. While I work on that, why don’t you share your blessings in the comments below! 😊 )