Saturday, February 3, 2007

God Cares

A Caring God

I Peter 5:7 “He careth for you .”
Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the depth of God’s caring heart.

Our world is a big place and intimidating in its collective mad rush that leaves less and less time for simple caring for one another. Gone are the long evenings sitting on the verandah – rocking – visiting with our neighbours.
We are so stressed with all our doing there never seem to be enough hours in the day … yet, we ‘waste time’ standing in lineups, we call for help and are put on hold- or worse get put on the recording treadmill. We are pressed in a crowd of people – or stopped in rush hour traffic - and feel alone. Our darkest moments often come when we feel we have no one to turn to. Building new relationships is overload, we are barely able to sustain the ones we have, and vegging in front of the TV is considered necessary ‘down time’.
It is easy to wonder during weary moments if we even matter – especially to God.

But if we quiet our hearts and look around us we see ‘pictures’ of the caring heart of God . The tiny mouse cozy in her burrow, the sheltered little seedling that sprouts its first roots, the parent ducks so protective over their little brood of ducklings, a mother cat purring as she feeds her kittens, the little perennial that comes up every spring - nature is so expressive of the caring heart of God. He has revealed this attribute of His in so many ways… and draws our attention to them. He tells us He longs to draw us to Himself the way a mother hen covers her chicks, that He will carry us on His wings as an eagle swoops down to catch her young, that He will provide for our needs even as he clothes the lily of the field . He tells us He cares about every sparrow that falls, and that we are more worth to Him than many sparrows.
Evidence that God cares is all around us, and we have all experienced God’s care for us in our own lives… Have you ever sat down and just made a list of all the ways God has cared for you throughout the years of your life?? The list would be inexhaustible.

Yet there are things that make us doubt. We see so much sadness , pain, suffering, tragedy and death around us that we wonder, where is the caring heart of God now? And there is the rub. In order to give us the gift of free will, God had to step back and let man make his own choices. The suffering we see around us is the result… not because God doesn’t care , but because man tends to make choices that leave God out !
Evil is simply the absence of God.
So God waits on the sidelines for an invitation to step into someone’s life or situation and work everything for good – to show how much He cares.
In a sometimes terrifying world that seems bent toward destruction He invites us to find safety in the shelter of God’s caring hand..

I had an experience years ago that always stayed with me as an example of God’s tender heart .
It was a clear blue sky on a summer Saturday and Vic was eager to take advantage of it and do his favorite thing – take a hike!
So we did – we hiked to Radium Lake and up to the saddle between Web and McDonald Mts. which is a fairly rigorous hike , but beautiful. After spending a long day hiking in the fresh mountain air, I was so sleepy when we finally got home that I could hardly keep my eyes open. But I still had to prepare to teach S.S. the next morning. I was department head for the Primaries and I had 100 six and seven year olds to keep under control. I am not a disciplinarian so I had to take the preventative route meaning I had to make sure my lessons were well prepared to keep the children focused and interested.
I had my bible lesson planned but still needed to come up with an action oriented game to teach the memory verse. Struggling to stay awake I asked God to give me an idea quickly that would not need any prop preparation. What came to my mind was a word association exercise –corresponding each word in the memory verse with an action such as touching the far wall for the first word, bouncing a ball for the second and so on. As I was visualizing an action for each word when I came to one word , I saw in my mind’s eye a little fair-haired boy sitting to my left and I put my hand on his head . No, no! was my immediate reaction – I can’t do that , little primary boys hate having someone touch their head… I’ll have to think of another action for that word… But try as I would my mind was beyond functioning and so I gave in and left the ‘pat on the head’ in the memory game.
The next morning it was very busy at the church and I was rushing around trying to get everything organized. My helpers had already organized the children on the floor ready for the lesson to begin when I walked to the front of the room and turned to face my class. As I smiled and greeted the children my eyes swept over the group to include each one . My heart almost stood still when I looked to my left and saw – in the same spot that I had visualized in my mind the little boy - a new child that I had never seen before.. a fair-haired boy with Down’s Syndrome. It is amazing how fast your mind can work in a moment of stress and mine went into super-mode trying to decide what to do. I had not had any experience with Down’s children and did not know how to interact with them. Would he feel threatened if a stranger touched him? But again, I could not think of anything else to do… so when I demonstrated the memory game and I came to the ‘pat on the head’ word I walked over and laid my hand – with some trepidation- on the head of this special child. A big smile broke out over his face – and relief flooded over me. As several children ‘practiced’ the memory verse and went through the little exercise, each one walked over to the little Down’s Syndrome boy , laid their tiny hand on his head and each time a big smile broke out over his whole face. And every child that touched him responded with an answering smile. The repeated exchange was very moving to watch, and the memory still brings tears to my eyes even after all these years.
It was not until some time later in conversation with someone who had experience working with Down's Syndrome children , that they told me there was nothing I could have done that would have been more effective in making that little boy feel comfortable and included. Being touched is someone telling them ‘I love you.’
I never saw the child again but the image of his smile will stay with me as a beautiful reminder of God’s loving care making sure that one little boy in a class of a hundred would feel loved -
in God’s heart no detail is ever overlooked.

What a wonderful, caring God we serve !


Lovella said...

oh the joy we know when we follow God's lead. That story is so moving, I can see why it left such a deep impact on your life. It is so interesting that the closer our walk with God the more often we have those amazing experiences.

Yokooso said...

That was such a beautiful story Julie~~~Thank-you!