February 16, 2010

To Live is Christ — loved and cared for

Even though God is not like us, He reveals Himself as a person, a male person. I’ve no problem with that. Genderless would be awkward and difficult to relate to, and female is not biblical. However, sometimes God’s actions are like the actions of a loving mother. The Bible says . . . 
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the night, a prayer to the God of my life. (Psalm 42:8)
As I read these words this morning, I thought about a mother who loves and cuddles her little baby during the day and softly sings her to sleep at night. Her attitude and thoughts are like a prayer that continually goes up to God for her child. This is how God treats His people, how He treats me.

My devotional asks several questions. One is how do I feel when I am aware that God’s love is directing me? At first I tried to think of how I feel when a friend or family member gives me loving directions. I’m glad people care, but also realize how rare it is for anyone to do this. Personal motives so easily entangle themselves in human advice.

God is not like that. His desire is that my life is the best it can be. When He gives directions, He has only my best in mind. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Another question says, “How do you respond to the God of your life? Do you sing? Offer prayers of thanksgiving and praise?”

I reread the verse and don’t see any part of it being about me. It is God who commands lovingkindness, and God who gives songs in the night. Each activity is from God, not me. Even the prayer offered to Him is also something that He provides.

Again, this is like a mother who hovers over her infant who cannot pray. She prays for the child, saying words that the child cannot say. This is like God who offers up prayer from within me, prayer that comes from His heart concerning me.

This is not a weird idea. Romans 8:26 says the same thing. “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

For most of yesterday, I was not feeling well due to an allergy reaction. I didn’t pray much until I went to bed and even then felt out of touch with God. My prayers seemed hollow, as if I didn’t know what to say and my heart was not in it.

However, I woke up this morning with a praise song in my heart. How did that happen? Psalm 42:8 explains it. God loved me all day (even when I didn’t feel great) and His song was with me in the night. When I could not pray, the Spirit prayed for me. Like a loving mother, He never abandoned me, even when I felt out of touch with Him.

To live is Christ means experiencing the love of God in remarkable tenderness and care, a love that does not depend on what I do or how I feel. This love is much like my father’s love, but sometimes God seems more like my mother.

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