I saw it last night.  It had been there all my life, but I never saw beyond the surface.  Before I say more, let me tell you what led up to it.

At the end of another episode of Undercover Boss, the boss was emotional as he reflected on the people with whom he had worked.  The common thread was family, more specifically parents or parenting.  After having reached out financially to help those specific people and their families, he went on to say he hoped his father, dead for many years, would be proud of what he was doing.

That reminded me of another frequently watched show at our house – this one on the Food Network, Chopped.  Almost without fail, one of the four people vying for the title of Chopped Champion tells the judges they want to win to make a parent proud, or to prove they really have value, basically.  In so many cases, though, the ones they want to make proud are no longer alive.

This has always bothered me – whether the target of their efforts is dead or alive.  Oh, that they might know how accepted, approved, and loved they are if they are in Christ.  That nothing they can do will ever bring them that sought-after approval until they receive Christ and His amazing love and forgiveness.

In reality, people who have died will never approve or disapprove of what someone does.  The only approval that matters is the Lord’s, yet it’s not a matter of performance that merits this longed-for approval.  Because we never could do life perfectly, we’ve been given one simple requirement – believe in and receive the finished work of the One He sent, the only One in Whom He is well-pleased.  In the perfection of Jesus Christ alone we are approved – not because of what we do or don’t do, but because “This is My beloved Son.  In Him I am well-pleased.”1

As we discussed this apparently widespread emotional problem at a Bible study, I saw it.  While I have always known, without a doubt, that my earthly father loved and was proud of me – not based on anything I did, I never saw it as a reflection of Jesus until now.  I spent many years wishing he had raised me in the Lord and His Word so I’d have had a better foundation early-on.  All along, his life revealed the unconditional love of my heavenly Father towards me.  Other than eyes to see, what more did I need?

Now my memories reveal what always existed.  In the very early years, when Dad happily included me in his outings.  As I stepped into adulthood with my arm through his as he prepared to walk me down the aisle.  Even in the nursing home, as he beamed with pride and told anyone in the vicinity, “This is my daughter!”  It had nothing to do with what I did, and everything to do with my being his.  Accepted.  Approved.  Loved.  Without condition.

What an amazing glimpse into how my heavenly Daddy feels about me! It makes me shout with praise and thanksgiving to the One Who loves me so much that He adopted, approves of, and is well-pleased with me – in Christ – as He beams with pride and says, “That’s My daughter!”

1 Matthew 3:17, 17:5, Mark 1:11, Luke 3:22, 2 Peter 1:17