Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wallowing and an Unwavering God

Cannon had a sick day from school today. He looked about as pathetic as ever with a double ear infection, strep throat and terrible congestion. I figured it would be such a great day to just relax together. He loves mommy dates and I was imagining this one to be extra special with all day snuggles and cuddles just him and me. Reeve, my one year old, needed to fall asleep so Cannon and I could leave on our date while my napping husband stayed with the baby. After the baby already fell asleep, a glitch with the fan woke him up again. We had our fingers crossed that he would fall back asleep after the fan went back on a minute later, so we could leave. While waiting on Reeve, I tried to snuggle Cannon in my arms, but in his true defiant and difficult nature, he pulled away saying, “No! I don’t want you to hold me!” He proceeded to fling himself on the floor and sit by himself completely missing out on his mommy’s love. I felt I could cut the pride with a knife. I really felt sad for him because he was missing out on feeling loved in my arms, especially when he was so sick. I was wondering how much longer he was willing to waste being stubborn. Watching him refuse something good when there was absolutely no benefit to him, reminded me of the way I do the same thing in my relationship with God.

I wondered if God feels sad for us that we’re missing out on His love when we choose to push Him away and wallow on the floor all by ourselves. When we throw ourselves on the floor, away from His loving arms, you know what I think He does? I think he waits earnestly for us to come back to him. I know what He doesn’t do. He doesn’t sit there with His arms crossed and begin plotting how he can get back at us for not making time for him. There is no revenge, no stones, no “I told you so,” no disappointed looks or judging fingers. He isn’t mad at us!  God isn’t shaking his head at us, totally frustrated and annoyed. God covers us with His perfect Son. When He looks at us, He sees the redemption, the grace and the sufficiency of Christ. In a sense, it doesn’t matter that we don’t measure up, that we make mistakes and mess up. That’s why Christ died and with His last breath said, “It is finished!” This is the heart of God. This is why He is so incredible. His grace is nothing short of a miracle, a beautiful picture of His limitless and boundless love. Maybe that’s why the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. He desires for us to sit on His lap and be enveloped in His warm embrace. He wants us to find fullness of joy, live in His everlasting freedom and simply enjoy Him and revel in His unimaginable love.

Those times with the Savior that we can schedule or sneak in are life giving and life changing for US. If we have even a smidge of feeling obligated or a sense of being ‘finished’ after a religious moment, like a checking off a duty, than we’ve missed it and we’ve missed Him. We have to fight against seeking approval and acceptance in the ‘doing.’ God operates on His doing, not ours. He’s already done the work. Whatever work God chooses to do through us, should come from a heart of love and adoration rather than a legalistic chore or some sort of ‘holy’ obligation.

After a bunch of wasted time just sitting there on the floor, my little boy decided that it was about time to snuggle with his mom. So, releasing his stubbornness and pride, he got back on the couch, curled his little three year old body into my side while I gently stroked his arm. I didn’t scold him for waiting so long. I didn’t have a disapproving expression on my face. I simply enjoyed him next to me in the same way God simply enjoys us when we curl up to Him, no matter how long it’s been. I just took in the moment. I thought to myself, “I love him so much!” and you know what? It was the same thought I had when he was telling me “No!” and throwing himself all over the floor. In the same sense- God loves us the same whether we haven’t prayed in a month or if we’ve been praying from sun up to sun down. The benefit from spending time with Him is all ours! It’s us that misses out if we choose to be stubborn or not make it a priority. It’s us that suffers by carrying the load, instead of letting our Savior carry it for us. It is us that knows peace, love, joy, kindness, truth and freedom when we do spend time with him. The benefit or the suffering is all ours and we can chose to be stubborn or to find unspeakable love and joy in our Creator. God’s love toward us is constant, it is available and it isn’t dependent on anything we do or don’t do. Take the unwarranted guilt associated with not measuring up and throw it into the pit of hell where it comes from. Don’t believe the lie.

We did end up getting the baby up and dressed and taking him along on our mommy date, when it was obvious he wasn’t going back to sleep. Cannon didn’t mind and was still thrilled to have a special day going to the library and to the store. Even with the movies, ice cream and snacks, our favorite part was just snuggling on the couch waiting for Reeve to fall asleep. I feel that has to be God’s favorite part with His children, too. Maybe that’s why God talks so much:

…about rest.

Matthew 11:28
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

… and enjoying him

Psalm 73:25-26

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

… and being still

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” 

Question: Have your children reminded you of the way you have a tendency to act toward God?

Challenge: Out of a heart of love and expectancy, carve out a moment or two with the Savior this week to reap the benefits of knowing a loving God.

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