My 3-year-old daughter caught me staring at her. “Mommy, why are you looking at me like that?” “Because I love you and delight in you,” I said. “God looks at you that way too.” “You mean, God looks happy at me?” she earnestly inquired. “Yes!” I said. “God always looks happy at you,” I emphasized. “Then I look happy at Jesus, at you, at daddy, and [my] sisters,” she concluded. When she finished, I think she could see me beaming with happiness. I want my three daughters to know deep down that God delights in them and loves them “with an everlasting love” (Psalm 37:23, 149:4; Jeremiah 31:3).

When we’re going through extreme difficulties—things that threaten to overwhelm us—it can be natural to wonder if God cares. If God loves me, why is He letting this happen? we wonder. Or if we have unanswered prayers and are yearning to hear a good word from God, but do not, we may question His goodness toward us. I know I have. And while I have no satisfying answer to the problem of evil in the world or to unanswered prayer, I’m convinced God loves us and delights in us.

In Isaiah 49:15-16 God reveals His loving heart toward His children: “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” The people may have felt “deserted” due to oppression (Isaiah 49:14), but He promised, “Those who trust in me will never be put to shame” (Isaiah 49:23).

When God’s love for us moves from head knowledge into the depths of our very being, it transforms us. Knowing God’s character and that we’re His beloved sons and daughters elicits trust from us even during the darkest of nights.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 11:19-29