Thursday, April 27, 2023

 To day my thoughts focus on GENTLE 

                                                            (source - Pinterest Karen Gritton)

On Sunday my husband and I went out for lunch.  A young couple and their baby were given a table very close to ours.  They put their baby in a high chair and it wasn't long before I was engaging with them in conversation. 
Their little girl was almost 10 months old, named Isla (eye-la). A very sweet little girl who sat calmly in the chair, her eyes brightly observing her surroundings. Her parents were so gentle in their interaction with her, their love for her so obvious.  
They spoke of her walking soon and the need for them to cushion off the fireplace so she would not stumble into it and hurt herself.  They also wanted the house to be safe so that she would not trip or get into things that could cause her harm.  
What a delight it was to me to watch this little loving family -- the child so clearly reflecting her confidence in  being secure and loved.  
Later in the day, I was reading in the Psalms and the following passage halted my attention. I saw in the words of this passage the 'picture' of the little family I met in the restaurant. 

Psalm 18:25,26  records David's words about how the Lord has loved him... It reads... 
"You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, your right hand has held me up, your gentleness has made me great and you enlarged my path under me so that my feet did not slip." 
The Hebrew word translated gentleness is the feminine form of the word translated 'humble' in Num. 12:3 where it says that Moses was the most 'humble' person who ever lived.  
Why is the feminine form used in our Psalm 18?  I think because it adds the depth only understood  when observing  the gentleness seen in a mother caring for her beloved child. 
In this we see the tender heart of God - His 'motherly' gentle care over His children.  

The salvation we have in Jesus is the shield He has given us --  a shield - a barrier between us and incoming danger.. He hovers like a watchful parent over a toddler just learning to walk, shielding them from danger and harm. . 

His right hand holds us up.  How quickly a child reaches out to grasp the hand of their parent.  In church, on Sunday, a young mom arrived late with 2 sweet little girls.  They slipped into the pew in front of us and immediately both girls wanted to hold their mother's hand.  She took both girls' hands as they exchanged gentle smiles!   There is strength and security in holding the hand of a parent - the comfort of knowing we are not alone. 
So God reaches out to hold our hand,  ensuring that we will feel neither vulnerable nor afraid. 

His gentleness has made us great!  What a delightful, encouraging environment 'gentleness' provides.  It gives room to grow, to ponder , to learn to understand.  There is no judgment or harsh criticism in gentleness -  only a  patient coming-alongside  that provides a safe  environment.   

"You enlarged my steps so my feet did not slip".   God doesn't make us walk our earthly journey on a tightrope.  Not even an adequate path.  No, He makes sure it is wide enough so that there is no way that we can slip off the edge..  He provides a 'paved highway' without uneven ridges or cracks and obstacles that could cause us to slip and fall. 

We too are encouraged to be 'gentle' in our relationships. 
Philippians 4:5 reminds us to be 'GENTLE' to all men .. because the Lord is watching!  
Colossians 3:12 encourages us to 'put on' tender mercies -- gentleness mixed with compassion toward each other .. and never forgetting that 'love' is the perfect bond! (vs.,14) 
Galatians 5:22,23 lists 'gentleness' as being part of the fruit of the Spirit.  God Himself, indwelling His children moves us to respond to others with His gentleness.  

I hope your heart is warmed by this reminder of how much and how tenderly God loves us - Too often we stumble because we fear we have caused Him to frown upon us when all the while His hand is outstretched to invite us to become 'great' in His tenderness and when we need it, His ready forgiveness! . And as we live 'in Him' we too learn to be gentle one to another living in the bond of love. 

1 comment:

ellen b. said...

Sweet reflections of our Father's tender mercies providing us with a Savior who leads us gently.