It’s a natural human behavior to work for approval, to work to be worthy of something—whether that something is love, achievement, honor, whatever. There is something innate in humans—even those born with silver spoons in their mouths—that says that working to prove one’s worth is normal and natural, and from the time we are capable of the slightest reason, we begin to do this, starting with our own parents and guardians and protectors.
What it takes us so long to understand, though, is that parents love us because we just are. We may understand that eventually, once we’ve had our own children and have experienced the deep welling-up and intensity of love at first sight, of instant affection based solely on one’s very existence. Before we had our own children, we may have even experienced those emotions when our closest friends had kids, or our siblings produced our first nieces and nephews. When confronted with the presence of an infant, or a small child—one young enough to not have made any choices yet—it is very easy to understand how love just is. How it doesn’t have to be forced, or conditionalized, or coaxed, or explained. It just is.
These are the types of moments we have in life that give us a microcosm of understanding of how God views us. And a microcosm of understanding of what God was getting at when God said to Moses from the burning bush, “I AM.”