I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but when you see a book title that just drips with intrigue as much as July Blume’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” does…well…you don’t get that out of you head very easily. I vaguely recall seeing this book on the floor of the bedroom my two older sisters shared. And that was at least 30 years ago, probably more.
I had no idea what it was about.
Turns out it’s a coming-of-age book for pre-pubescent girls. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve never actually read it. Because as it turns out, I couldn’t get past the title. And as it turns out, that’s a good thing.
I’ve always been taught that God loves us. And by “us” I mean us. The world. You know, John 3:16 and all that stuff. All of us. Everyone. You know, US. But when I happened upon that book, it occurred to my young brain that there might be more to “us” than I thought. It occurred to me that if you look closely inside “us” there’s a “me”. That in actuality “us” is nothing more than a bunch of “me’s”. And if God loves “us”, could that mean that God loves “me”?
I’m sure Margaret had no idea she had had this affect on a young boy’s view of God.
Now, you might chalk this whole shift up to one of many cerebral upgrades I received as my kid brain developed. But when I think about the time in my life when I began to think of God in terms of “me” in addition to “us”, I’m pretty sure it was around the time I saw that book. Coincidence? Probably.
I wonder if there might be someone who might even be reading these words that can’t really make the leap from God loving “us” (generic) to God loving “me” (specific). Probably because you know you and you think you know Him. Can God care about just one person? Isn’t He way too big for that? And if He can, does He? Let me tell you a story.
Many summers ago I was going to be going on a mission trip with some teenagers. But it was still a few weeks away I had some things I needed to get done before leaving the country. One of those things was to buy a new antenna (the metal, extending kind) for my young son’s remote control car that he loved playing with. Having that car would give him one more thing to do while I was away and hopefully somehow help my wife in my absence. But without an antenna, the remote control car wouldn’t work. The trip got closer and closer and I simply ran out of time to get that antenna fixed. I was sorry about that, but what was I to do? Oh well.
It was the last day of our trip and I’d be returning home late that night. It was a Sunday morning and I was getting dressed for a local church service we’d be attending. I put on my khakis and felt something in the pocket. I reached in and I kid you not–pulled out a brand new metal antenna that would fit my son’s remote control perfectly. You may not know me, but you’ll have to trust me that to this day I can say with all confidence that no one knew about that antenna, that I hadn’t gotten one before leaving, or anything else about it. I stared at that antenna is shocked awe, knowing that God cares about “me”.
God cares deeply about you.
Where you are.
What’s hurting you.
Your joys, your aches, your questions, your stresses, your thoughts, your fears, and anything else you could think of ever.
Maybe you need to come to a place (or return to a place) of just knowing Emmanuel is not merely “God with us”, but He’s also God with YOU and that the things that are on your mind are on His mind as well.
“Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for YOU.” -1 Peter 5:7