I don’t really fear Satan. I believe in God’s power over him and don’t worry that Satan will somehow usurp God’s good plan for me. Satan can only do what God allows him to do (Job 1,2), and I have confidence God will use Satan’s schemes for my greater good and His greater glory (Jeremiah 29:11).
Where I struggle is with the fear that God is powerless to save me from myself. Obviously, God is all-powerful. But when we factor in human free will, I get a little nervous. Because I know myself. I know my tendency to run away from God instead of toward Him. I know my resistance to pain and suffering and all things undesirable – the very mediums God tends to use to accomplish spiritual growth in us…
In light of all these facts, I worry that I might have the ability to choose to resist God. I fear I possess the capability to utterly ruin whatever good plans He may have for me by being disobedient and uncooperative. He isn’t going to force me to do anything I don’t want to do. That’s scary. Because sometimes I need to be forced. I know myself; left to my own devices, I won’t always choose to do the best things. Sometimes I need God to make me.
I was talking to the Lord about all this the other night. And at one point I just asked Him, “Do You get exasperated with me?”
I was thinking along the lines of human parents who get exasperated with their children for asking the same questions a hundred times or for stubbornly refusing to obey certain rules. We get exasperated…
Since God is our Father and we believers are his children, does He experience similar feelings of exasperation with us when we act childishly or foolishly? Or does the whole parent/child analogy break down there? The Bible does say the Lord doesn’t grow tired or weary (Isaiah 40:28)… even of me and my ridculousness?
I continued to think about my children. At the end of the day, when they’ve fallen asleep, I take a few minutes to go in and look at them. I pray over them. But, mostly, I just look at them – their little features, their cute positions, their innocence – it all overwhelms me. It fills me. And I inevitably feel inexplicably blessed that they are mine.
Whatever feelings of exasperation toward them I had throughout the day, all those feelings disappear when I watch my children sleep.
That got me thinking about God watching me sleep. Does He have to fight the urge to reach through the heavens and stroke my hair or kiss my forehead? Is His heart overwhelmed with love? Is He speechless that I am His? I think it’s a safe bet He probably is (Jeremiah 31:3, Isaiah 43:1).
After pondering that image and those questions, I was reminded of a David Crowder lyric in which he says to God, “Thank You for loving me.” And because I was feeling thankful, I said those exact words to God, “Thank You for loving me.”
And without missing a beat, He smiled and said, “How could I not?”
God. Of the universe. Said that to me.
I fought the urge to count the ways to Him that He could not, and I chose, instead, to accept His fatherly gift.
After all, what was God really saying?
He didn’t mean He loves everything about me. I’m certain He’s not real fond of the countless ways I find to sin, for example.
He meant there is something special about our relationship – Parent/child – that endears His heart to mine no matter what I do or don’t do. Just like me with my kids. When they’re sleeping, and I can hardly breathe for their beauty, no matter how many times I felt exasperated with them that day, I can’t come up with any possible reason I wouldn’t love them.
They are mine – I love them – how could I not?
I need this reminder of God’s heart toward me often. Daily. And I figure I’m not alone.
If you’re needing a reminder, too, I recommend Isaiah 43, in which God says to the Israelites, and subsequently, to Christ-followers, “I have called you by name; you are mine… you are precious and honored in my sight… I love you,” (Isaiah 43:1, 4).