Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Our Faithful Father

I was reading in my devotional this morning (always a good thing) and it talked about the words that Jesus spoke in Luke 13:34, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." This is the kind of openhearted love that God continued to have for His people, regardless of how many times they turned away from Him. When you think about the word picture that Jesus is giving us, it really is quite profound.

He is always longing for us to live under the "shadow (and safety) of His wings"; we are the ones who keep wanting to wander off and explore the wide world around us. We are looking for something to fulfill us, something to give us meaning and purpose, something to satisfy the void in our hearts. What we are missing, is that all of those things can only be found in the Creator of the Universe - the very One who longs for us to come running under His wings.

As I think about that kind of love, that kind of faithfulness, that kind of commitment & patience - I see Someone who is so far different than myself. I see qualities that I can't ever measure up to; a perfection that I could never obtain. The gap between who He is and who I am is so wide that it's almost overwhelming. Even though those characteristics are the kind of things that we are looking for in our Heavenly Father - the kind of things that we want Him to be - it can also be somewhat intimidating. Here's what I mean: when I see into His character (which is His holiness), and then I see how sinful and imperfect that I am, the difference creates a hesitancy in my heart. I want to go and draw close to Him and become familiar with that love & faithfulness, but at the same time I don't know how to respond to it. He is so much different (or transcendent for the theologically inclined) from me, that it's practically safer to just stay where I am. If I draw closer, perhaps more of my imperfections will be brought to light. If I get to know Him better, I may only end up seeing just how horrible I really am. If I can't compete with the degree of those characteristics, being near the One who is the very definition of them, will only make me feel worse. Or will it?

It is our natural tendency to shy away from something that we don't understand or can't comprehend. We think we are safer and better off if we just stick with what we know. The truth is, when we tear down the walls around our hearts & open ourselves up to the perfect-ness that is God, we definitely get the better deal. We get the security of being in a relationship with One who knows us inside and out. We get the assurance that His faithfulness and love will always be new every morning. We receive the kind of forgiveness and restoration that can only be given by Him. We receive a wholeness that is given by grace instead of worked for by our own strength. Although it may seem scary at first, the benefits & rewards of having that kind of relationship are well worth it.

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