My small group at church is currently reading and discussing Wm. Paul Young's book The Shack. There has been quite a bit of controversy surrounding this book, and I can understand why: it pretty much turns on its head everything you thought you understood about God. For many of the members of my group, this book puts into words some of the things we've been feeling in our souls, but could never quite voice, and never quite reconcile with the teachings of organized religion. It has definitely given all of us lots to think about.
One of my favorite parts of the book is something that Papa, the author's personification of God the Creator, says over and over: "I am especially fond of that child." She says it about everyone, each person, even those who have done unspeakable things, and each time I read that phrase, it's like getting a little hug from God. She says it as a loving mother or father would say about each of their children, loving them in spite of their mistakes. So my message to you today is that God, creator of the universe, is especially fond of you. Especially fond.