Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Reflecting on the Heart of God

I was on vacation, sitting on the lake in a kayak. A bird flew by and I thought to myself, “God knows the name of that bird. He knows exactly how many feathers it has, knows when and where and how it was born, watched it grow up, and will see when and where and how it dies.” That got me thinking.

I thought about all the people in the world. ALL of them. (That’s about 7 billion people.) I thought of the tiny, tiny, tiny percentage...out of all those people...that I know personally. People that I have actually made face-to-face contact with and am therefore aware of their existence. That’s a ridiculously small number. Out of this tiny amount of people that I know, I narrow it down to the ones I actually care about: the people I have talked to and interacted with enough to have a personal interest in their lives. Even smaller. Out of this group I narrow it down to those I love. The people whose cares and struggles are so close to my heart that when they hurt I hurt, when they weep I weep, when they rejoice I rejoice. The people that I know and love on an extremely personal level.


That is a tiny figure. Even lots of people that I care deeply about do not make it onto this very personal love list - simply because I as a human being do not have the time or energy to invest so personally in that many lives! Add a few hundred more people to this list and there’s a good chance I would shrivel up and die under the weight of so many problems and struggles laid deep on my heart.

But then I turn my eyes to God. God, who created every single being on this earth: not just all 7 billion of us who are living right now, but all those who have lived before. Yet He loves and cares for each of us...EACH of us...on an infinitely deeper level than we care about our most special friend in all the world. Imagine taking your tiny personal love list and spreading that kind of affection to every single person in the entire world. Imagine knowing the thoughts, desires, struggles, and lives of everyone who has and will ever live on this earth. Imagine not only possessing that kind of knowledge, but also experiencing each individual’s life on a personal level: weeping when they weep, rejoicing when they rejoice, understanding their confusion and anger.

Not one of us finite human beings would last a minute with this kind of knowledge. People say, “What if I was God?” as though the responsibility of being God is something easy. No. What God does, day in and day out, without rest or pause, is something that is far, far more difficult than we could even imagine. Think of all the sin He has seen! He knows the human condition better than any of us. He watches every day as we slip into the same exact patterns of sin that thousands and millions and billions of our ancestors have slipped into before us. And yet...He is patient. He is kind. He is even merciful! He blesses us when we do not deserve it!

I have tried to put it into words, but the truth is that I cannot come close to fathoming the width and depth of the heart of the Lord. It is so great, so perfect, and so wonderful, that all I can do is fall on my face and praise Him. On this earth, I will never fully understand the greatness of His love, but I can certainly increase in my learning. And the more that I know, the more I will praise Him for who He is and for who I could never be.

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