~ I have posted this here before, but I was working on it today for a project of mine and wondered if it might lift some heavy heads today...
I step out of the clothing store with shopping bags in one hand, shading my eyes against the bright sunshine with the other. I scan the busy parking lot for our car, because as usual I’ve forgotten where we parked. The longer I stand there, the more uncomfortable I am. It’s not the sun that is making me uncomfortable.
My husband is sitting in our car, out there somewhere among the hundreds of parked cars, just watching me and probably getting a pretty good chuckle out of it! How many times have I done this? I am directionally-challenged, even needing some guidance when stepping out of a store inside a mall! I always choose the wrong direction to walk. And now my husband is watching me and I am remembering how much he loves to tease me about my lack of car placement memory.
Then my eyes lock onto his and sure enough, he is grinning from ear to ear! I sigh and make my way to the car, throwing the bags in the backseat. I buckle my seatbelt and turn to his broadly smiling face, bracing myself for the teasing and ask, “What?”
With a sparkle in his eye he says, “When I saw you standing there, it took me right back to our high school days when I used to watch you come down the school hallway toward me. You are so beautiful!”
My heart does flip-flops, and I must quickly correct my thinking about his thinking!
I do this to God. I keep getting it wrong regarding His thoughts toward me.
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8
For some reason I tend to think that God is unhappy and displeased when He looks at me. But nothing could be further from the truth. (farther or further? Ha! Need to find out for my project.) The following is a journal entry from when my two boys were little. I was active in more ministry jobs than anyone should ever say “yes” to. I was asking God to help my family and to give me ideas for the women’s Bible study and things like that, but we were spending no quality time together. So this led to guilt and depression and of course to the belief that God was sitting out there somewhere frowning at me. I felt angry, sorry, alone and crowded all at the same time. Nothing would console me. Not more chocolate, coffee, time alone in a long hot bath, nothing. My journal reads…
“I have been down this road way too many times and God knows that, so how could I ask forgiveness? My shame is keeping me from Him because I do not deserve Him. I am such a mess. I know He will forgive me and that makes me feel even worse!
Now suddenly in the last few hours I am hearing Him whisper to me, “I love you, just come to me please.”
Just when I am thinking and feeling that all is hopeless He is calling me to Him. Why? Has He no pride? I haven’t even asked for forgiveness yet. Doesn’t He want me to beg and plead? He is offering me mercy before I even ask for it, I do not get His love for me!”
God did not make me ask for forgiveness. I did not need to grovel or pay for my crime of neglecting Him. He was not unhappy with me at all. Right in the middle of my misery and blind wandering, He was holding out His mercy to me, even before I asked for it. God was smiling at me and loving me.
His thoughts are higher, full of more grace and patience than I can muster up for those around me. I was making the mistake of imagining that God thinks like I think. That He gets irritated as easily as I do, that He is drumming His fingers on the table waiting for me to get it right.
I do not offer mercy up as easily as He does. I want “justice” when my family or I are wronged. I want fair treatment. I want recompense and restitution. These are my ways and these are my thoughts.
I am so thankful that God’s thoughts are not my thoughts and that His ways are not my ways! God’s ways are infused with such overwhelming love that He cannot see us without love in His eyes. He refuses to keep a tally of our wrongs against Him because His vision is colored with mercy.
Dear friend, He is smiling at you today! God knows you. He knows what all you are juggling. He likes you more than you think He does. When the craziness of life begins to overwhelm you and the kids are pulling at you for attention 24/7, God is there and He understands. He is not impatient with you and your progress or lack thereof. God is not tapping his foot on a cloud wishing you would hurry up and grow up.
God loves you today. He even adores you today! God is better at love than any parent. We call Him Father, but God loves higher and deeper and truer than an earthly father is able. He has no false ideas about you. He knows you. You are His creation and made by His design. What else could He be doing but smiling at you? All you need to do is look up and smile back.
Thank you God for smiling back at me even when I am not smiling. I am worrying and fussing and stressing. But still you refuse to stress or worry. You smile at me. You open your big arms to me and invite me into them. Thank you for your relentless embrace, for your constant grace and forgiveness. Thank you for being the loving God that you are.
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