Would you agree that every person has a desperate need to be someone’s one and only? Do you wonder why small children vie for attention without care for their siblings? And why we feel stabs of hurt or pain when our spouse or children or friends prefer someone else to us? Or why we eagerly check Facebook or Instagram after we pour out our hearts to the world? I think the only honest answer would be a longing to be seen as unique, to be the only one, to be special, to be adored by someone we desire. Last summer the dark sky threatened rain in the August morning. Rain was imminent, the air heavy with promise. The fierce gathering of clouds fit well with the condition of my heart, heavy with anticipation after the prior day and night of waiting at the bedside of my dying mother-in-law. Unusual for my sensitive nature, I had not shed any tears yet, though I had observed others around me holding back and restraining their own emotions.
This particular morning the time had come for a faithful servant to be called home. Our family’s beloved matriarch was in her final hours. Our pastor had come to see her, administered the Lord’s Supper and led us in song and prayer. Now he was gone. Morphine to dull the pain had been administered. We could do nothing else but wait for the end.
Time was hanging heavy and the only thing I could think to do was to look for comfort from someone who loved me. So I called my own mother, who of course would listen and offer some word to try to sooth my need. Spilling out the news in a string of sentences without breathing, I walked out onto the porch into the humid stillness. I waited for words of wisdom to comfort me, but the Holy Spirit led her to utter a message for my husband's mother, who was in greater duress.
“Tell her she is the apple of God’s eye and that she is under the shadow of his wings.”
Simultaneously huge drops of rain and enormous tears stung my face. The truth of those words cut right to the desires of my own heart, even as they were meant to encourage our loved one going to the Lord. Those words of wisdom from one believing heart to another were so appropriate. They echoed the love the Lord has for each of his children. For me, for you, and for our loved ones!
The Psalmist David wrote Psalm 17 with this thought in mind as he prayed for protection against the attack of his enemies. He pleads with God in verse 8:
"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings" Psalm 17:8
Not only does David acknowledge that he currently has the distinction of being the apple of God’s eye, he also commits himself to the shadow, the place under the loving Father’s protection. Peter echoes the same understanding of his only hope in a fervent confession of faith to Jesus:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68
When pain or sorrow enters life, or when we just do not understand what is going on, can we remind ourselves of this place of affection only we can occupy in the eye of God? Can we flee to his Word and the shadow of protection under his wings?
Yes, by God’s grace you can do all of this and more. God loves you eternally and proved it by carrying your burdens to the cross. He redeemed you and lives in your heart.
In the future when you are tempted to believe you are not anyone’s favorite, stop and remember who you are. No matter what circumstances life may deliver, stop and remember your unique status with the Lord. When the day comes and your loved ones are in need, remind them of the apple and King David’s reassuring picture of their worth in God’s eyes. Through Christ, you are unique, special, adored, loved, longed for, and desired.
You are the apple of his eye!