Do you ever have times when you feel fragile and worn, and in need of some TLC?
That is exactly what God delights to provide for those who look to Him, and come to Him through Jesus.
There are many astoundingly beautiful characteristics of God. Some examples: He is holy. He is faithful. He is powerful. He is just. He is righteous. He is good.
But, sometimes, I think that my favourite characteristic of God is His tenderness. Ok, so I don’t really mean that: everything about Him is astoundingly wonderful.
But His tenderness is very precious to me.
The truth is that I’m very sensitive. He made me that way, and it has its benefits, but it sure makes life painful sometimes. And it also makes it so very precious when He meets me in His tenderness, and ministers in a way that is so very personal; so very intimate; so very gentle; so very kind.
Maybe you’ve seen it in your own life: something so intimate that it could only be God, because no-one else could have known how much it mattered, or could have orchestrated it in such a detailed way.
Maybe you had no idea that it was from Him.
I can think of many examples in my own life. Here are a few:
The day I was so very sad, and my friend, who didn’t know, bought me roses. I know God timed that.
The day I pulled up in my car, my mind clouded with worry, stepped out onto the street… and looked up at a rainbow I hadn’t even known was there.
The day I was crying, asking God to help me believe He loved me because He felt so far away… and along came my friend’s cat and started rubbing against my face.
The messages of encouragement that were perfectly timed. The friends who prayed just when I needed it. The little things that meant so much.
The things only God could do.
He is such a tender Father.
He is far more merciful than we could ever dream.
This is a broken world. He never intended it to be that way. He made a perfect world, with no tears. We broke it by our rebellion. And now there are all kinds of tears, and all kinds of broken dreams.
But that doesn’t mean He doesn’t care. We can’t draw simplistic conclusions about His intentions when we have His promise that He loves us so very, very much.
He holds a bottle of the tears of His child. He counts them all. That’s how much He cares.
‘You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?’ Psalm 56:8
He cares so much that He gave His own Son to die a cruel death on a cross to buy you a way out of this mess, forever.
He knows when your heart is fragile- and His protection of it is fierce when you take refuge in Him!
‘The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.’ Psalm 34:18
‘For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield.’ Psalm 5:12
‘A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;
He will bring forth justice for truth.’ Isaiah 42:3
I listened to a message the other day about how tender He is with the bruised reed: how gentle He is with those who are broken and helpless and at the end of themselves. It was so precious and encouraging because we all get knocked down sometimes, don’t we? And He knows. And He cares. And He is tender with those who are fragile and look to Him.
If you’ve never come to Him as Saviour, surrendering to Him as Lord, you have no idea of what you are missing out on. You have no idea of the things He has done for you, which you missed. Every breath comes from Him. Every heartbeat. Every caring hug. Every piece of chocolate. Every sunset. Every smile. And how He yearns to receive you as His own, offering you His forgiveness and eternal life when you turn from wrong and believe in Christ.
Sometimes I look around at the people living around me, seeing the sadness, the brokenness in their eyes, and yearn for them to know what He offers to us all: His forgiveness, His hope, His love, His comfort and His peace. Please let Him in. His mercy will amaze you.
And His tenderness never changes, no matter how long we have known Him… or how many tears we have cried.
He knows just how much we can take. He cares for us as a tender Father, and He never stretches us too much.
‘As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.’ Psalm 103:13-14
My friend Carole pointed something out from Bible history once: when Jacob’s family were travelling, they only went as fast as the little ones could take. And the Lord, also, knows how much His little ones can take. He takes us patiently on a journey we can handle.
‘But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. 14 Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock that go before me, and the children, are able to endure, until I come to my lord in Seir.”’ Genesis 33:13
Jacob would not push the little ones too hard. And our Lord won’t, either. Actually, he carries them!
‘He will feed His flock like a shepherd;
He will gather the lambs with His arm,
And carry them in His bosom,
And gently lead those who are with young.’ Isaiah 40:11
Sometimes I can get frustrated with the pace of the journey God takes me on. Sometimes I think He is being too slow. But what if what feels painstakingly slow is actually His tender loving care? What if He knows I can’t handle things as fast as I think I can? What if the pauses are actually just a chance for me to rebuild and catch my breath? They say even good things can cause stress. He knows us so well. Maybe He takes things slowly sometimes for a reason.
And He knows your personality perfectly, too. What if the pace is tailor-made to your design? What if it’s really His tender loving care?
There are seasons to the lives of God’s children in Christ, measured by His gracious hand. He gives His people rebuilding seasons as well as tough ones. He tenderly provides just what we need to keep going. Sometimes He breaks in with wonderful mercies and encouragements, to give us a reminder of His Father heart.
He is so very, very kind.
It’s easy to forget that. There’s a lot of suffering to life in this broken world. If you follow Jesus, there is even more suffering, because you’re going the opposite direction to everyone else. But you are also so very, very loved.
And you can rest in His Father heart when you don’t understand.
‘Who among you fears the Lord?
Who obeys the voice of His Servant?
Who walks in darkness
And has no light?
Let him trust in the name of the Lord
And rely upon his God.’ Isaiah 50:10
Come into His presence. Seek Him. Surrender. Talk to Him. Ask Him to comfort you. He is so very, very precious and so very, very kind, and He loves to bring His tender comfort, and His love.
‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.’
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
And knowing how much He cares is a great reason to trust in Him, no matter what you’re going through right now. 🙂
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.