She walks by with a saucy look and a sparkle in her eye. Her golden curls catch the late afternoon sun. She’s walking with purpose like she’s got somewhere important to go. She’s two, though. How important can it be? Certain she’s got time for a kiss, I grab her and pull her close. Once she’s in my arms and I know she can’t escape, I hold her chubby cheeks in my hands and say, I love you so much, Ella. Her response tugs at my heart. I know, she simply says. I kiss her nose before sending her on her way.
I know is a common response when we tell Ella we love her, and every time I hear those two words the sweetness of them makes me happy. She’s not being presumptuous with our love nor is she being indifferent to our affection. She’s simply speaking honest, unfiltered two year old words.
I know. I know that you love me.
There’s something wonderfully raw and strikingly sweet about my two year old’s response to her mother’s love.
In those simple words I hear a daughter who has faith in me, who trusts me, who is secure in my love for her. I love her and she knows it. She doesn’t doubt it, not even for a moment. One of the reasons I savor these interactions is because I know that all too soon, with age and maturity, her response will become more refined and more socially appropriate.
I wonder if, on some level at least, her two year old response is the kind of response that we, as children, are supposed to have with our Father when He speaks words of love to us.
I know. I know you love me, God. I don’t doubt your love for one second. I’m secure in your goodness. I trust your faithfulness. I have faith that your love will never fail. I know.
There are many reasons why the Psalms so naturally stir our affections, but I believe that one of the reasons is this: in King David we see a man who is utterly confident in His Father’s love for him and we long for that kind of confidence. Yes, he speaks of His own love for God. Yes, he writes about God’s glory and grace. Yes, he confesses his sin and need to be made clean. In all these things we can relate. But one of the recurring themes of the Psalms of David is this: the unfailing love of the Lord.
I know. I know you love me. I know your love will not fail.
God wants honesty and transparency from His children. When we’re wrestling, we should tell him. When we doubt his goodness and love for us, there’s nothing that should keep us from speaking to Him with reverent transparency and sharing with Him the ache of our heart. Just like King David and countless others before us we can surely ask, Where are you, God? Why is my heart bowed down? Do you love me?
And yet within a relationship of honesty there’s something fitting about a child who knows—who really, truly, confidently knows—that their parent loves them.
Because really, we don’t have to look any further than the Cross to see eternal words etched in vivid crimson. I love you, my child.
Then the beautiful simplicity of a childlike response.