From a book I’m currently reading:
How would you respond if I asked you this question: “Do you honestly believe God likes you, not just loves you because theologically God has to love you?” If you could answer with gut-level honesty, “Oh, yes, my Abba is very fond of me,” you would experience a serene compassion for yourself that approximates the meaning of tenderness.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion [tenderness] on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15, NASB).
Scripture suggests that the essence of the divine nature is compassion and that the heart of God is defined by tenderness. “By the tender mercy [compassion] of our God who from on high will bring the rising Sun to visit us, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).
Richard Foster wrote, “His heart is the most sensitive and tender of all. No act goes unnoticed, no matter how insignificant or small. A cup of cold water is enough to put tears in the eyes of God. Like the proud mother who is thrilled to receive a wilted bouquet of dandelions from her child so God celebrates our feeble expressions of gratitude.
—Brennan Manning, “Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging”
You are God’s beloved. And His desire is for YOU. (Song of Songs, 7:10)