Tender Loving Care.

June 4, 2010

It’s Friday afternoon, and I’m sitting at the Panera by Steven’s office, sipping coffee, catching up on emails, reading blogs, and reflecting on the mysteries of life. You know, the norm. Our car is neatly loaded with our little luggage, an empty ice chest, boxes of goodies for my mom, and a suit & dress. We’re driving up to San Jose right after work (praying for minimal traffic, but not expecting any grand miracles) to attend Alton & Charissa’s wedding this weekend & spend a teeny tiny bit of time with my fam. It’ll be a quickie this time — we’re driving back on Sunday — so I foresee lots of fatigue in the coming week. But I digress.

I’ve been wanting to post about this all week, but haven’t had the chance till today. Last weekend after Sung & Carol’s wedding, we booked it to Ontario for Cornerstone’s annual church retreat. Even though we got there late, it was a really sweet time for us to hang out with the church & just be under a lot of good teaching. I especially appreciated the women’s session — Minna’s sharing, in particular, has been on my heart & mind all week. She shared a portrait of Christ from Matthew 12. Not a portrait of His righteous anger, His perfection, or His deity… but a portrait of His tender & compassionate heart for mankind.

“…a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not quench…”

She shared that she sometimes feels like God is like a physical trainer, giving her what’s good for her and whipping her into shape, but not really caring about her. But this portrait of Christ totally negates that wrong belief. Christ is not just some hard Master who is disciplining us and training us to be better. He tenderly cares for us. He sees us in all our weaknesses & folly, our unfaithfulness and our wandering hearts, and he still tenderly loves us. When we are defeated and broken and can hardly lift our heads, He is the One who gently calls us & puts us back together.

I have to admit that I sometimes give in to this false notion of who God is. Sometimes it feels like He is my physical trainer, pushing me to run when I am exhausted and can’t run anymore. He feels like a distant authority figure, ruling over my life with good intentions but no consideration for my emotional state. Some days, thoughts of our unique trial surface in my mind & seem to blind all the other blessings that we have. I wonder how much longer we will have to wrestle with this — just another year, a few more years, or the rest of our lives? I think: Am I so prideful and self-centered that He has to use such extreme measures to discipline me? Will He only stop when I’ve learned the lessons He wants me to learn?

But that kind of thinking is the farthest thing from the truth. He disciplines, yes, but He loves. He wishes to bless us and shower us with grace. He is not stingy with His love, or even with His gifts. He is a generous God, a compassionate God, and a merciful God. He doesn’t find some sadistic pleasure in disciplining us, but His heart breaks as He disciplines us. This past year, I am sure that His heart was full of sorrow & heartache as He led us through the valley. Even in the darkest moments when I doubted His plan for us, His love for us remained steadfast and pure. This is the God of the Bible, and this is the God that watches over every detail of our lives.

I was so thankful for this reminder last weekend. It seems that my imperfect self is only able to remember this truth for little snippets at a time. Thankfully He knows even that and is faithful to lift my head to catch a fresh glimpse of His love exactly when I need it most.

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3 Responses to “Tender Loving Care.”

  1. Sue Says:

    thanks for sharing your thoughts, cathie. i was very encouraged by that teaching too, and that verse especially. thanks for the reminder.

  2. Joan Says:

    So neat to hear how the retreat was a timely encouragement to you :) and thank you for the reminder of His constant compassion!


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