Today, in continuing my writing on intimacy with God, I choose to give you yet another glimpse of my conversations with Papa as I reflect on His remarkable tenderness with us. I wrote these words in my journal this morning.
"I am glad, Papa, that you have healed me up a lot compared to 2 years ago. The poignant and gripping words from this date in my journal there let me know that you are healing me, Father. If nothing else, of course, I have seen through this journey just how amazing you are, how patient, how kind, how infinitely good."
As some of you know, two years ago I was deep in the throes of grief and wrestling with all kinds of emotions as I looked at the ruins of my life. For some reason, even back then, though, I found myself expecting God to tell me to "suck it up" and be tough. I am not sure why that was the case--that's pretty much how I was raised, I guess--but whatever the reason, I kept being blown away by God's kindness and by His tender yet relentless pursuit of my heart. At every point I found myself in His embrace, no matter what my frame of mind or emotional state. Whether I was in the depths of despair, feeling like a miserable failure, trying hard to be strong, or whatever, I kept "bumping into" my Father's love. He was and continues to be infinitely patient and tender with me, and I am convinced that His "tender mercies approach" is what brought me to my current state of strength and wholeness. The following is from my journal on December 8, 2010.
"I keep expecting you to tell me to 'suck it up' like my dad tended to do. Somehow it rarely occurs to me that you don’t do that when someone is 'bleeding all over the floor,' or even that I would never, ever do that to anyone. Do I think I am kinder than you are???? Where on earth did we get this notion that telling wounded people to be tough is best for them? Who would go to a doctor who gave that advice? And this is a wound far deeper than any physical wound."
But wait, you say! Surely there is a place for toughness and pressing in and on. Yes, of course there is. But timing and context determine how the encouragement to be strong is given. God is perfectly attuned to where you are and what your circumstances are, dear one. So when you are "bleeding all over the floor" because of tragedy, you will find His tender mercies inviting you to be healed, not cruelly telling you to get over it! When you are starting to recover but still walking with a limp, you will find His tender mercies urging you forward: "I am with you. Don't be afraid. Keep pressing on. In your weakness you will be made strong." And even when you are feeling on top of the world, you will discover His tender mercies! This time they will be there to remind you to live in gratitude and graciousness, to fiercely enjoy the feeling of the wind beneath your wings while also preparing for the inevitable trials ahead. Everywhere you turn: His tender mercies! It's not like He runs out of grace, eh? I think I read something somewhere about His mercies being renewed every morning.....
Not sure why I wrote about this today. I am still fuzzy from a virus I've been fighting, so maybe this is the best I can do! I truly do wish, though, that I could convey what's in my heart--what I saw this morning as I peered into God's heart and saw His kindness. Yes, He will stretch us, challenge us, exhort us, but I marvel at how He does all of this with such grace and gentleness as His first resort!
Marveling at His mercy,
Tom, one of Abba's little children