What is God’s favorite word? Some might argue that God’s favorite word is LOVE. After all, it certainly was one of Jesus’ favorite words. “Love one another, love one another,” he said over and over again. Others might say God’s favorite word is COMPASSION, FORGIVENESS, GOODNESS, BEAUTY, or TRUTH. Still others might argue that God’s favorite word is NO. Just look at all those “Thou-shalt-not’s” in the Bible.
But I think there’s evidence to show that God’s favorite word is YES. What are God’s first words in the Bible? “Let there be light!” The Bible then says, “God saw how good the light was.” I can almost see God saying, “YES!!!” and pumping his fist enthusiastically. God goes on to create the sun, the moon, the seas, the vegetation, animals, and human beings. After creating each thing, God pronounces it good. This pronouncement is God’s seal of approval. It is his YES!
Throughout scripture, God invites individuals to perform certain tasks to bring about God’s plan for salvation. God appreciates every “yes” these people say: Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Ruth, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah. Mary’s “yes” comes in her words, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to your word.” The apostles also give their “yes” to follow Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, along the wayside, and at the tax collecting house.
Jesus often says “yes.” He says “yes” to his mother’s request at the wedding in Cana. He says “yes” to Abba, his father, as he sets aside his hammer and saw and begins the life of an iterant preacher. He says “yes” to peoples’ request for teaching, healing, and even food. In his parables, Jesus shows us a God who says “yes” to a child when he asks for bread, “yes” to extending love even to an enemy, “yes” to allowing the weeds and wheat to grow side by side, and “yes” to a wayward son when he crawls back home penniless. And in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus says his final “yes” to torture and death, trusting that Abba will give him strength and (somehow) turn this horrific death into glorious goodness.
One of my favorite stories concerns a God who says “yes.” It seems a mother was sitting in the living room when she heard the cookie jar lid being lifted up. Knowing her little boy was in the kitchen she said, “Nicky! Are you stealing a cookie? Remember God is watching you!” Within a minute the little boy appeared with a chocolate chip cookie in each hand. The mother said, “Didn’t I tell you that God was watching you!” “Yes,” Nicky replied, “And he told me to take two!”
How am I responding YES to God right now in my life?