March 1, 2013

Compassion on my ignorance

As a small child, I suffered from rheumatic fever. This meant taking school at home by correspondence for several years. Later, a friend in high school told me that my mother told her mother that I was not as smart as the other kids. I didn’t realize she meant “street smart” and thought my above average marks were not enough.

To impress my mother, I became a very serious student. I even won provincial honors and a medal for my marks. Yet this was never good enough, at least in my mind. For years, I’ve felt as if I don’t know enough.

This carried over into my Christian life. It took me a long time to connect the dots and realize that what my mom said was more about socialization and less about mental capacity, facts and book knowledge.

Now I am back in school, this time as a grandmother and great grandmother, and God has changed my motivation. He showed me that I make quilts with a passion for the process, sometimes not wanting to finish them because I enjoy the process so much. Why not look at learning the same way?

So I am not focusing on the end result or high marks, which creates a ton of stress, just enjoying the process! This has made a huge difference in reading, studying, even writing tests. Today’s devotional gives more light and blesses my heart.

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. (Psalm 103:13)

Spurgeon is the author of the notes on this verse. Today he says that the Lord has compassion on our childish ignorance and is not angry with us because we do not know everything.

I smile. I know my ADD easily distracted mind needs much repetition and I could worry about not remembering what I’ve learned. Spurgeon says that no matter the reason for a fickle memory, like a true father God understands, and if a child doesn’t get it, He tries again.

This is a blessing. How many times have I lamented about not remembering what I’ve learned, or looking back at how often I’ve had to ‘repeat a lesson’ yet God knows this will happen. With compassion, He patiently runs me through the classroom again.

Certainly, God does not expect me to know as much as He does, yet I often struggle with what little I do know and neglect to apply it to my life. I might say, “stupid me” but He patiently persists with my forgetfulness and neglect. His goal is that I know Him and something of the power of His resurrection and something of conformity to his death, that I become more like Him. I do not need to fear failure or being dismissed because I am so dull and slow because He promises to finish what He started in me.

Spurgeon offers admonition also. He says that I must never compare myself with others and think I know less or more than they do. He is teaching all of His children. Where I am in that process is not about doing better or worse than others. I’m not to look up at the more experienced, nor down on those who may not know as much as I do for I have not gotten far yet myself.

Spurgeon also says slow learners can feel their inadequacies so much that they seek more instruction to compensate. That is okay, but if I look down on or make fun of the uninstructed ones, it is not okay. That is, in the family of God, I’m to have the same compassion for the less knowledgeable as my heavenly Father has shown toward my ignorance. I ought to have even more since God has no ignorance of his own and I have so much.

I’m both convicted about comparing myself with others, and blessed by realizing the love of God does not do that. He is totally compassionate and full of pity toward all without comparison and regardless of how much or how little we know about Him or about anything else.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

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