Knowing God’s Heart; Missing the Lamb
It is the week after Mother’s day and I am reflecting on the sweet sentiments I received from each of my children…
The first was from my oldest, Jayden. Knowing him, I am sure he set a reminder on his iPhone, which I take as a compliment. He is thoughtful at heart, but admittedly forgetful. Before he had even fully opened his eyes, he emerged from his bedroom and croaked a sleepy, deep, man-voiced, “happy mother’s day, ma.” I smiled and hugged his bony bare shoulders, knowing this was as sentimental as a 15-year-old could be.
My creative and tender-hearted Audrey made me an Instagram tribute with several pictures of us together over the past 14 short years of her life. She must have looked through albums without me even knowing to find old pictures, some I have not seen in many years. I was definitely taken back and teary eyed as I read her words of love, thanks, and appreciation. She had mentioned all the little things I always assume are overlooked in our daily busyness.
Sweet Emma, in the way only she can, gave me a full body, unhinged, and unashamed hug, one where I could smell her coconut shampoo and feel her heart beating in my chest. She told me she loved me and wished me a happy Mother’s Day. And I fully believed her.
Riley, is five. He whined about me brushing his hair and begged to wear his cowboy boots with his shorts. But, today my heart was thankful for this typical toddler interaction. At 8 a.m. pre-coffee, I had already been reminded how quickly it passes. Upon picking him up from class at church later that afternoon, his Sunday school teacher reminded him to tell me happy Mother’s day, to which he complied. He hug/tackled me and handed me a picture he made in class. It was a pre-scripted questionnaire that his very patient teacher had filled out:
Her hair is: yellow
Her eyes are: Blue
She is this old: 14 years
Her favorite color: Black
Her favorite food: Sandwich
She loves to: Sweep the kitchen
Sometimes She: Makes me clean my room
I love it when she: gives me Dr. Pepper
Riley did a pretty good job in his interview. I do have blonde hair and blue eyes. But, I am a smidge over 14, and black isn’t exactly my favorite color. I am sure he assumed this based on my extensive collection of yoga pants. I do love a good sandwich, but I try and avoid gluten, so not sure where he got that one. Although I do a lot of sweeping at our dusty ranch house, I would hardly name it as my favorite past time. And I can only hope he will remember gestures of my love for him, other than the ones that rot his teeth.
We all got a good laugh from Riley’s answers. I will treasure this construction paper masterpiece signed with his tiny red handprint forever. I am undone by each of my kids, their individual personalities, and hearts. It made me ponder how all my children see me. Was I just a tidy, sandwich gobbling, task master? When they look back at their childhood, will they remember a mom who cared more about following the rules and their good behavior than I cared about a relationship with me? Dear Lord, I hope not. And if that is true, am I more loving and caring than God? But, for most of my life, I have seen God this way. A strict father that loved me, but expected a lot. Which always left me feeling I was constantly disappointing him.
In the past, If I were to fill out a pre-scripted interview about my heavenly Father, I would have painted a picture of a Holy God. A larger than life, powerful, sovereign God that loved justice and righteousness. And, Yes, he did love me. But, because he loved me, he sometimes had to teach me a lesson. He hated sin, and his discipline was necessary, he could only accept holiness. All those hard lessons in my life were just to keep me in line with his will. If I had to illustrate my picture I might paint a picture of a fierce lion. He would be larger than life with a huge mane, a majestic king, mighty, strong, one to be feared and respected.
But, this is not the whole picture. I was leaving out a very important part of God’s character.
I was missing a major part of His heart.
I was missing the lamb. I was missing the gentle, loving, and willing sacrificial lamb.
Recently, God began to reveal to me his loving and abounding grace. He has shown me just a glimpse of his mercy, like letting me peek under the wrapping paper of the most wonderful birthday gift of all time. This has prompted me to want to see so much more of him. For years I thought his grace was just a piece of the mysterious Jesus puzzle. But, he has shown me grace is actually what holds the whole puzzle together. It is so simply complex and wondrous. And I want everyone to see what I see. His grace has changed me. I can never see him any other way.
You can shout your warnings and implore me to fear his judgment. You can shake your finger at me warning me to examine my heart for sin. You can tell me to watch my step and change my behavior. You can chastise me for loving and accepting those you oppose. You can quote scripture and tell me my sentimental God does not save and is a figment of my imagination. But, I have seen the lamb and I cannot unsee him. Your words do not describe his heart. I do not recognize this God you claim to know better than me. The verses in the Bible about his deep love for us bury a thousand times over the ones that warn of his wrath. That wrath was buried and love rose on the third day.
Don’t misunderstand me. I know God is holy. He is a sovereign, an all mighty king that can only accept righteousness. But, because of his grace, his mercy, his goodness, and faithfulness, because HE IS LOVE, he reconciled us to himself. He did the unthinkable to make us his righteousness. He made a way so he would never have to be without us. And the angels rejoiced and were astounded at his mercy and love for us.
He did it.
Once and for all.
It is finished.
There is nothing left for us to do but abide in him. We abide by believing this is true, accept the gift, and walk as if we are cleansed in the perfect blood of the lamb. The mind, the heart and the behavior of our flesh will catch up to the spirit and follow suit, and much more efficiently and perfectly than our own will ever can.
I believe in what he did for me. I believe it worked fully and I can do nothing to make it better.
I am so grateful.
The lion and the lamb are what make him so complete, so spectacular, so complex that it will take our whole lifetime to seek him and we will still be wanting more. Don’t miss it.
Enter His Rest,
Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29