It’s been a long time since I have had time to write anything… the stuff below has been on my mind and heart lately, so I thought I would write about it.
[ the only good thing that comes from not having time to sit down and write lately is all the ideas that are swimming around in my head – so, once I have time again, there will be a lot to be written – yay! ]
This last week, while reading in Isaiah, I came across the following verses. In chapter 40, Isaiah is going on and on about the character of God and how things here on earth are so temporary and passing, and how good and great and big God is (at least, that’s what I get out of it—but I am no bible scholar/theologian/bible history expert). I have included Isaiah 40: 11-14 below, however, I highly recommend reading all of chapter 40, especially to see the greatness that is in God being so mighty and all-powerful, and at the same time so tender towards His people.
Isaiah 40: 11-14
11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
I relish in the attitude of wonder, awe, and happiness that I experience when reading Isaiah 40: 11-14. Actually, when I read this verse I get such overwhelming joy from knowing that God holds me close to His heart, protectively and intimately, that I feel I should be running around my neighborhood dancing and shouting like a wild lunatic and telling everyone how wonderful He is and how great this truth is.
I have often heard the last—and more popular and well-known—verse in that same passage quoted:
Isaiah 40:31, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, They will soar on wings like eagles: they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”
I have seen this verse printed on plaques and picture frames in Christian bookstores and it is in big, bold letters on the wall at my local YMCA–it is a very encouraging verse. However, I feel like I have heard that verse so much that I don’t respond to it anymore (which is weird–because it is an incredible promise and is absolutely true)… and then, when I was reading in Isaiah 40 and saw the verse about the Lord holding us close to His heart like a Shepard to a lamb, I was overwhelmed, startled, and definitely responsive. Why? Because THAT IS INCREDIBLE. It is a sweet and good reminder whether I feel weary or not that God holds me close, and that a relationship with Him is that intimate and comforting.
As I write this, I imagine the sweet, joyous, and warming feeling that comes from holding a kitten or puppy close to my chest, or a favorite pet, or a newborn baby. This last weekend I visited some friends of mine who just had their first baby; he was not even two weeks old. I held him for a bit, and enjoyed every minute. When it was time for him to go back to his mama, she held him close to her heart, talking sweetly and comforting the little guy.
The gentleness and tenderness with which we hold any small and delicate living thing is the same way that an all powerful, gigantic, earth-shaking God holds us. That’s awesome. THAT IS INCREDIBLE. It’s counter-intuitive to our human-brains! That God, who is so mighty and earth-shaking, could be gentle and intimate. Can you believe it?!? It says it right there in Isaiah 40, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
He carries me close to His heart.
There is a God who is powerful, mighty, omniscient, omnipotent, and the Creator of all things. He is so big, it seems that he would be completely beyond our grasp. Yet, this same God, picks us up in the crook of his arm and holds us against his heart in the most caring and tender of ways. This great, big, almighty God is much closer than we think or can imagine. Although He is above and beyond us in all things, He is not distant or located off in an abyss of stars somewhere—God is with us.
He is as gentle and guiding as a Shepard, yet all-powerful and authoritative as the one true God should be.
Through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, I have been paid for—my sin no longer is a barrier for me in my relationship with the Most High God. Through Christ I am made free and reconciled as a daughter of God. As His daughter, His child, I am lead and held gently, cared and provided for in abundance.
As His children, God Himself carries us through this life close to His heart.
There will be pain and suffering, but we can rejoice in the fact that we are carried through the pain and suffering by a good God, a gentle leader who loves us thoroughly and delicately, and is simultaneously all-powerful and strong and authoritative.
He knows that life is not gentle; it is unfair and unmerciful, people are unloving and uncaring. He knows where we hurt, where we are sick and in pain, and that our hearts are delicate and fragile. He also knows what heals us—restoration into relationship with him and His tender and abundant love and grace. His love is freeing, comforting, and exciting.
I am in wonder of this delicate, protective love that He gives. I think about the joy I experience holding a tiny kitten close to my heart, near my face where I can feel its soft coat touching my chin and hear its rhythmic purr. It makes me curious if, in the way that God leads us and loves us gently, He enjoys holding us in the same way—that He gets exuberant joy out of being close to us, in the same way that I get overwhelming gratitude and happiness from being close to Him.