Saturday, May 5, 2012


Would it be truly biblical for God to say to one of His children that he or she was one of His “very favorites?” In chapter 4 of A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer: Meeting God in the Broken Places I wrote an account of an experience of listening to God in a noisy diner (P 54 in the paperback version). Here’s what happened.

 “Then a very unusual thought entered my mind: ‘Rusty, You’re one of My very favorites!’ I was astonished and immediately knew this impression came from my Father. Instantly my heart was filled with the warm sensation of being special to the most important person in my life. The impact this word has had on my sense of who I am has been dramatic. That’s what often happens when God speaks into our thoughts.”

I heard of several people who thought that this could NOT have been God. After all, He doesn’t have any favorites … and if He did, it certainly wouldn’t be someone as common as yours truly! God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit loves us all equally. One man decided to not study my book because he felt this example was thoroughly unbiblical.

I began to think about this one night when I was having a difficult time sleeping. Maybe others are right and this was just a figment of my imagination … something I wanted to hear, but that my heavenly Father didn’t really say to me.

In my sleeplessness, I realized that the Bible does call people like you and me the beloved.  According to my computer Bible the word “beloved” is used 119 times in the Old and New Testament.  Beloved is a common term of endearment that God used to describe His people, Israel. (See Psalm 60:5 and 108:6). However, Israel was a lot like most of us. One day they’d be walking closely with Him and then next … they would fall prey to sin and rebellion.

An audible voice from heaven proclaimed that Jesus was God’s beloved son in the Gospels. Since Jesus was God in the flesh, this is a very understandable use of the word beloved.

But then Paul used beloved to describe non-Jewish lowlifes like the people you and I fellowship with in the book of Romans, in the two books to the carnal church of Corinth, in both his books to the Thessalonians, and Colossians. In fact Paul used this word to describe believers in every epistle that he wrote. So – big deal: according to the Apostle Paul, we are the beloved.  

After my sleepless night, I decided to look up the extended definition of beloved. According to the Free Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary beloved means to be dearly loved and dear to the heart. A few example of how it is often used: He is a beloved public figure, an actor beloved by millions of fans, and one of the city's most beloved buildings. But the best part of my study was the list of synonyms for beloved: darling, cherished, dear, fair-haired, favored, favorite, fond, loved, pet, precious, special, sweet, white-headed. (Source:

In my fleeting days on the planet, I have carried a heavy weight of self-contempt for most of my years. I grew up in a blue collar non-Christian home across the street from a steel mill. My parents were good hard working people but not very well equipped in raising children or pulling off a harmonious marriage. I nearly flunked out of High School because of how withdrawn I became after a girlfriend broke up with me in Junior High School. I dropped out of Community College because my motivation level was so low.

My lack of ambition or of having a purpose in life caused me to end up being sent off for a year in Vietnam by the Army. I continued to stumble along by falling into drugs from 1968 until the day I came to Christ in 1970. If I looked at me as a prospect to date my 19-year-old daughter, I would do everything in my power to seek to talk her out of it. I was a loser who was headed nowhere. I had more baggage than a Fed-Ex 747 headed for Asia!

Though I miraculously came to Christ in Okinawa in 1970, as dramatic as my conversion was, it didn’t eliminate much of the deep brokenness and the low sense of worth that identified me from deep within (below the hidden waterline in my life). There’s more I could say, but I don’t’ want to wallow in my woundedness. However, to suggest that my flesh or wishful thinking would somehow fabricate “Rusty, You’re one of My very favorites!” in a noisy diner is more improbable than the U.S. paying off it’s national debt by the end of 2012.     

What I’m trying to say is that the love that the God of our Universe has exhibited to broken people like you and me is “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). His love is so mind boggling that Paul was forced to pray that the Colossian believers would “know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge” (Colossians 3:19).

How do you know something that surpasses your intellectual ability to know? The answer – by supernatural revelation. That is to say God has to somehow reveal, disclose, and make His incredible love known to you. One of the most powerful ways God has to communicate this kind of truth is by doing it in the same thing He created all that we see out of nothing. That’s right – He can speak it into being!

He can communicate to the cowardly Gideon and say “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior” (Judges 6:12) and call him into being what he formerly was not!  He can speak to a barren woman in such a way that she gives birth to a mighty son (Judges 13:3).  He can call an insignificant and fearful orphan out to lead a movement by saying “Certainly I will be with you” (Exodus 3:12). And He can call an immoral drug dealer to sit among “the princes of His own people” by saying, “I love to hear your voice” and “You’re one of My very favorites!” (A Guide for Listening and Inner-Healing Prayer, Pp 30 and 54).

The question really shouldn’t be whether or not God can love us in ways that go far beyond the way the world defines love and call us forth to be the men and women He created us to be. The question should be “are you placing yourself in a position that this incredible God can call you into being the person He created you to be?”

Are you listening to Him? If not, why not? If you are listening, what’s He been saying to you? I’d love to hear your story.


  1. Thanks for the great response! God can do exceeding abundantly beyond all we ask or think. Many times we just cannot believe when he does and we either discount it in our hearts or minds or worse just refuse to see it. It's a lie we believe that God is just not that great or different than us. And as you said, we can have a problem with God calling David a man after his own heart when he was an adulterer and a murderer but God recorded that in his word for us all to read and study.


  2. Dear Anonymous KTJ,

    Good point. This reminds me of Isaiah 55:8-11:

    “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it."

    Learning to see life from God's perspective,

  3. So timely Rusty, as I have been pondering being God's "beloved daughter". It began because recently each and every time I read in the gospels the Father's declaration over Jesus "this is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased" it brings tears to my eyes to even imagine/consider He might think of me as His beloved.

  4. Rusty thank you for sharing! The thought and truth of God is being Sooooo Big, omnipresent, and omniscient and at the same time he is my personal savior, he knows me more than anybody on this earth, he knows my thoughts and my motives is beyond my understanding. Nevertheless, I am his favorite or beloved because of the saving work he did through Christ Jesus. I just wish I always believe and stand on this truth.
    TG @ EthNav