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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Unconditional

          I opened the boys' bedroom door softly and tiptoed into the darkened room. I had been drinking my morning coffee and relishing some alone time with the Lord when I heard the familiar sound of Ely's soft voice singing in his bed. The sound of my boys' tiny little voices letting me know when they are awake in the morning is one of those things I will remember fondly and my heart will truly ache for when they are grown up and have moved out to start families of their own.

        I went to Elyas' bed first seeing as how he was sitting up and Ephraim was still laying down. I reached down to him and he immediately stood up and climbed into my arms. This is our usual morning ritual. I always try to remember to give them hugs and kisses before they even hit the floor, as I believe it is very important to start the day off feeling loved. Normally, being the bouncy, energetic toddlers they are, they immediately try to squirm out of my grasp and run head long into the day. This morning, however, when I picked up Elyas he neither squirmed nor tried to break free. Instead, he laid his little head on my shoulder and released the full weight of his body into my arms. Completely at rest and completely trusting me to hold him up. He could have been fast asleep if I didn't know any better.
 
         This was such a rare treat to me as I feel like I am always chasing these little bundles of energy around trying to steal just one more minute of snuggle time, just one more kiss. And they are always trying to get away. Sitting still for my boys probably feels similar to what kryptonite felt like for Superman. This morning, though, I was blessed with a special gift. The funny thing is I didn't realize how precious the feeling of them in my arms was or how much I was missing it until that moment. Sure, I pick them up a hundred times a day. But since they developed their own internal sources of renewable energy it's never without them attempting to get away.
        As I stood there holding my baby boy I thought to myself, I wonder if this is how Jesus wants us to lean on Him? The answer came to my heart quickly and without delay - Yes! Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be strong in the strength of His might. Philippians 4:13 says we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us. We are meant to trust in and rely completely on the Lord - not ourselves! 

         To reiterate this truth, on a few recent nights I have found Elyas not in bed where he was supposed to be but, instead, playing with his trains on the floor in the dark. I didn't know why at the time but it just completely broke my heart and gave birth to such pity for my precious baby boy. To see him so consumed with playing with those toys that he was willing to sit on the cold floor in the dark, instead of warm in his bed, and play all by himself....I just can't describe the love and pity and compassion it gave me for him. I couldn't even bring myself to reprimand him sharply like I normally would have. Instead, all I could do was gently take the trains from him, scoop him up in my arms, and tuck him back in bed. 
         It might sound crazy to some but I believe the Lord, through this experience, was showing me the kind of love He has for us. He sees us through eyes of love. The eyes of a parent. He sees our sin and takes pity on us because of that love. He knows we are desperately flawed. He knows that sometimes we are even a danger to our own physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. And that is why He not only died for us to reconcile us to Himself, but also was raised again to life on the third day so that He can guide us, mature us, love us, protect us. Romans 5:10 speaks of this.
          I think sometimes it can be hard to trust in the Lord not because He is untrustworthy (by no means!) but because of our own sin. The enemy uses our mistakes and shortcomings against us so that we ask the question, How can Jesus possibly love someone like me? He shouts our sins in our face and glaringly illuminates our flaws so that we are unable to see past our own imperfections to the indestructible and unfailing love of God. He is a murderer and, therefore, loves to kill and destroy. Have you ever seen those cartoons with the person wrestling with a decision and a devil is on one shoulder talking in their ear while the angel is on the other side? Those cartoons are not too far off. Satan stands right in our ear and hopes if he talks loudly enough we won't hear the voice on the other shoulder.
       
       The one problem with that is that our Angel, the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, does not merely whisper in our ear and hope we will hear it. He speaks directly to our hearts. Where, even if we don't recognize it at first because of all the other "noise" around, it will burrow deep into the soil and take root. He makes sure the job gets done!

Father, I thank You for being so wise and loving. Thank You for having such pity and compassion for me in my sin. I pray that, by Your Spirit, You will teach me to become more mature - less like me and more like You. Dear Savior, please take any "toys" from my hand that might be keeping me from resting safe and warm in the "bed" of Your everlasting arms. Amen.