Wednesday, February 13, 2013

We are Weak, But He is Strong

Welcoming my first child into my life expanded my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined. So much love, so much joy, so much laughter. That new mom experience was, for me, both a soaring and a deepening. An expansion.

As a second child joined our family two years later, I found myself being affected in a completely different way. If his entrance taught me about big love, hers has taught me about human limits. (Now, I feel compelled to offer this disclaimer before I say anything else: what God has been teaching me since her birth has very little to do with my daughter’s temperament or behavior and a lot to do with how He is wanting to change my heart.) It has seemed that every area of life is suddenly bounded by tighter restrictions than I am accustomed to. Even though my love for the three other members of my home is so great, I simply cannot be all that they need.

Time cramps me … there aren’t enough hours in the day to keep the little bellies full of what is healthy, the house free of grime and clutter, the spouse cherished, the hearts learning what is true, the minds growing in knowledge and imagination, and the bodies rested and cared for.

 Space confines me … I had never wished that I could be in two places at once until necessity demanded that I leave my toddler occupied with cartoons in one room of the house so I could try to get the crying baby to sleep in another room.

My own frailty hems me in … I get sick. I get tired. I get grumpy.

And of course, other limitations, such as finances, come into play as well. It is wearying, an ongoing struggle to gracefully accept the limitations that each day brings.

Why so many words about self? Only to create a starker comparison between who I am and who God is. That is what these limitations whisper to us: we are not and cannot, but He IS and CAN. He is outside of time – He accomplishes ALL that He wills to do. Nothing is forgotten or neglected. Space does not contain Him – He is everywhere always. Nothing goes unnoticed and no one is left alone while He tends to whoever needs Him most urgently. He is wholly perfect – Holy. He has no limitations. It is staggering.

It is also how He intended it. Of course the curse of sin has brought unceasing chaos into the whole picture of creation; but in the beginning He created us to have limitations. Before the fall Adam and Eve were bound by time and space. They had to eat and rest. Not all limits are not part of the Fall; they are part of His loving plan. Thus, we find freedom in them. They give us a beautiful freedom to choose only the loveliest, the best, because that is all we have time for. A freedom to wait for His strength to exhibit itself in our weaknesses. We weren’t meant to be gods. We weren’t meant to spin universes like so many plates swirling about our heads … not even the tiny universe that encompasses our daily lives and loved ones.

He has given us the gift of eternal childhood. Always depending on Him, always letting Him break off bites of life small enough for us to manage while He takes care of everything else. Always limited, but perhaps not by handcuffs that keep us from doing and being all that we want. Maybe they are simply a gentle hand holding ours and reminding us that we are the small ones and He will take care of us.

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; He remembers we are dust.” Psalm 103:13-14 (ESV)

(My latest devotional, which is up on Fellowship of NWA's Women in Ministry blog. Check it out for some reflection questions and to find more words of encouragement from other women.)

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