What Is God’s Favorite Word?

by Melannie Svoboda SND on October 1, 2012

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?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Colleen Mallette October 3, 2012 at 8:21 am

Thank you Sr. Melannie for a wonderful insight that made me think and tear up. I had never thought of this notion but after reading your first sentence I too would have thought “love” would be God’s favorite word. There are many unlikely people in the Bible who said “Yes” to God – you made me think of others like Joshua, Noah, Jonah & Paul. What an inspiration they are to us to say “Yes” to God’s call in our lives every day, I’m trying!

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Melannie Svoboda SND October 3, 2012 at 9:49 am

Thank you, Colleen, for your response. Yes, there are many people in the Bible who said “yes” to God–and we’re the richer for it! Like you, I keep trying to say my “yes” each day. Thanks again! Sr. Melannie

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Patricia Burnham October 3, 2012 at 9:43 am

Hi Sister Melannie,
I am saying yes every day that I can…Today is yes for meeting with my friends discussing your book “healthy spiritualty”…I enjoy it so much and can’t wait til we start the next book which we will be deciding today…I am so glad to have discovered you and look forward to meeting you in November when you come to Naples for our Spirituality day…God Bless You…

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Melannie Svoboda SND October 3, 2012 at 9:52 am

Dear Pat, Thank you for your kind words about my writing. I too look forward to meeting you in Naples, FL in November! Sr. Melannie

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