I know. I know. I did what I told you I hated...ended the story about Brennan without a good ending...without good prevailing...without your questions answered. So, how'd Brennan's surgery go? What was the problem? Well, if you've seen her recent haircut then you know she's doing great! Things turned out well this time. It was just soft, granulated tissue on one set of adenoids that broke open. They removed them...biopsy was clear. She probably will never have it happen again, though she still gets normal nose bleeds more often than some. So, is that why I can hope? Because things turned out well? Because God's power worked the way we wanted it to?
No. A thousand times no...
I can say that because it didn't turn out like I'd hoped when our baby died...or when we were fired...or when another daughter was taken for surgery...or when the money didn't match the bills...or when my father died...or when... you get the picture. It hasn't turned out like I might have hoped for, prayed for many, many times. So I wasn't sitting in that waiting room clinging to a false promise that His power was there at my convenience.But if God chooses sometimes to work the way I want and sometimes not, how can I keep turning to Him? What else can we know about God that doesn't just leave us with a God who is powerful, but distant?
Behold His Care
We said that in Isaiah 40:10 the first words God speaks tell us of His power, His strength. They are words of power, rule and might. Then it shifts, almost abruptly, to words that tell us of His care for us. Verse 11:
He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead those that are with young.
God loves you. He can not have shown you that more than in His Son's death on the cross. He didn't spare His own Son. No greater love can be displayed. (See this post to read J. C. Ryle's amazing quote on this display.) He is the Great Shepherd leading His flock to still water, green pastures...leading us in His paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
How loving is the love of God? How compassionate His mercy? How sufficient His grace? Oh, how we need God to answer Paul's prayer that we may comprehend together with all the saints who are now with God in glory what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19
What we need to see is that it is no accident that God mentions His power before His care. It is the power of God that guarantees His love to us is sustained. When you find yourself tossed about from the storms of life, when grief threatens to overcome you so that you feel like crying out with the disciples "Lord, don't you even care that I am perishing?", when fear of what might be threatens to make you blind to God's goodness and concern for you, think of the power that sustains His love. Nothing can stop God from loving you and bringing about all that is good for you and glorious for Him.
In what is probably my favorite John Piper book, Pleasures of God, Dr. Piper writes lines that run through me. He is talking about the verse from Zephaniah 3:15-17 that talk about God's presence with us and His rejoicing over us with loud singing. Can you imagine such a thing? Can you hear God love you so much that He actually rejoices over it? If not, listen...
He is not far from you. Yes, I admit that this staggers the imagination and stretches credibility almost to the breaking point - that God can be present personally to everyone who comes to Him and believes on Him. But say to yourself, again and again, He is God! He is God! What shall stop God from being close to me if He wants to be close to me? He is God! He is God! The very greatness that makes Him seem too far to be near, is the greatness that enables Him to do whatever He pleases, including being near to me.The same is true with His love, care, concern for you. Nothing can stop Him from taking care of you. Nothing stands in the way of the fullness of His mercy greeting you every morning. His Son has done the full work on the cross, absorbing the wrath of God, taking your punishment of death and conquering all in His resurrection from the dead. He is God! He is God! And you are His. His power sustains His love for you. His might upholds His care of you. Those strong Shepherd's arms carry you. Gently. Against His heart.
He knows you're tired. He knows you're weary. (Is. 40:30...Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted.) So lean in...relax your shoulders...lay your head down...take a deep breath. He loves you...wait upon Him. You will get through this...promise.
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint. (Is. 40:31)