I love to attend school activities: sports, plays, concerts, and contests. I enjoyed watching my children and now my grandchildren and their friends. I have found one common trait among all students. They look for people in the audience. The younger students wave at family and friends — sometimes shyly, sometimes enthusiastically. The older ones are more subtle, but you can see them looking. They are looking for friends and family. Looking for affirmation, checking to see the reaction to how they are doing.

Every one of them is excited when they do well, knowing they have made their family proud. But I also watch them when it does not go so well. Some immediately look for support, encouragement, and reassurance. Others look with the expectation that they have disappointed, or embarrassed not just themselves, but also the ones who came to see them perform. I wonder if they have been conditioned to expect anger, ridicule, or punishment for their failure.

I think that is how many people think about their lives and God. He is watching, and how will he react? They know he is pleased with them when they live according to their faith in him. They expect and anticipate encouragement and comfort. Some see the God who is loving, proud, supportive, and welcoming even when we fail… maybe especially when we fail.

But others have a feeling of dread and fear that God is in the audience. They believe that God is waiting for us to fail so he can condemn us to hell. As if that is what he really wants for us. That is the concept of God that someone has taught them. And it is a lie.

The truth is that God is pleased when we follow him. He is hurt when we fail, but he does not want to condemn us. He wants to save us. That is why he sent his son to die on the cross for all our failures. That is why his son came to earth. He came so he would know and understand how it is down here. So he could save us.

Be glad is watching your life. He's smiling.
I can help you know the real God who loves you and saves you. The God who wants you to live with him forever. Write me at steve@hopeforlife.org. Or visit our website at www.hopeforlife.org.