"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Holding Tight

I tuned into a morning show on television the other day that I like to watch from time to time. It is a Christian production with a Biblical perspective.  This show features a news segment, and then there will usually be a testimonial from someone whose life has dramatically changed upon receiving Jesus. 

I was also getting other chores accomplished as I was watching, so I was only partly paying attention to the testimony of a man who had been the pastor of a small church, but whom also had become a “cutter”.  He said through his faith, he knew drugs were wrong, and he knew alcohol was wrong, as well as other types of addictions.  However, somehow in his distorted understanding, “cutting” was something he had fallen into, justifying it by his belief that his life was without worth and that he was deserving of the pain.

I don’t want to misstate his testimonial, because as I said, I was only half way listening until he began to speak about his children. This piqued my attention out of recognition of something that had also happened to me. As he shared his experience with his child’s first immunizations, I could relate; it all ended in tears - our child’s tears and our own tears.

The pastor said he literally cried for his son as he watched the doctor administer the shots. He explained how he was holding his son who was happy and content in his arms, as the doctor was talking. Then all of a sudden the needle was injected, and his son’s face became one of shock and pain as he looked mournfully at his dad as if “daddy” was the one to blame. The child wailed, and the man couldn’t help but cry with him as he held his son tighter.

For this man, the experience of his love and sorrow for his son became a vision of God’s love for him. At once, the pastor realized how much pain it must have caused our Heavenly Father to watch him as he continued to abuse himself with “cutting”.  He told how in a moment he finally realized through all of his abuse, the Lord had been holding him tightly, grieved by his actions.

His was a beautiful heartfelt testimony of one who, though he had spent years in church, finally came to understand that our Father in Heaven really did love him.

I love those special moments when God reaches down low to meet us where we are, and show us through means that we can relate to, how very special His love is for us as individuals.

It reminded me of the first time I took Matthew to get his immunizations. I don’t remember how old he was; 3 or 4 months, I guess, when babies receive their first series of shots.  I, too, could not help but release tears.  My tears were for my baby’s pain, while understanding this was something that was best for him and that these immunizations would keep him well later in life. 

My tears were also because this almost seemed like a betrayal of trust. One’s child counts on his parents to keep him safe and comfortable; fed, clothed, and bathed. But now, I was causing him to hurt. At the time, I didn’t relate my tears to God’s tears, or God’s love for me.  I didn’t think about any of that, as this man had. I only knew that I didn’t like to see my child in pain. I had already come to terms with our God’s love for me….so I didn’t need to think about it in terms like this man did. But now all these years later, hearing this man’s testimony made me want to carry his allegorical story just a bit further.

I know without a doubt that my son’s relationship with my husband and me has been one of complete trust.  I have watched for years as our son trusted us to do what is best for him.  I know without a doubt that Matt has never questioned that we have always had his best interests in mind.  He probably did not like everything we have done; he may not even have appreciated all of our decisions, but I know for a fact he never questioned them, or doubted that we wanted what was best for him.  He knew we loved him and that was all he needed to understand and to know we would always have his best interests at heart. I have watched him at times repeat to others what we have taught him, having learned and understood those truths full-well within his own heart. That kind of trust is an awesome thing to see.  If we appreciate these kinds of things as parents, we can rest assured our Father in heaven enjoys seeing such trust in each of us, if we would only have it.

What a beautiful example the Lord has given us in the Father/child relationship to help us understand His love for us.  I know every child has not had this example; I know every child has not been raised in this kind of faith, but I believe our Lord can reach such people in just the right way, at just the right time, with just the right example to turn a heart unto Him. 

We can also rest assured He is holding us tight, and we can confidently trust Him as we experience life in all of its triumphs and all of its trials.
"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he asks a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
                  ~Matthew 7: 9-11

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