A bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench:
This third point that I wanted to make has been more difficult. I mean how do you "describe" God, even the tiniest slice of who He is? I nearly gave up on the idea, letting it fall by the wayside like the vast majority of my blog ideas.
But, it is such an indescribably precious lesson to me. I don't want to forget it. I need to stop here and erect twelve stones.
I can not remember exactly which beach trip we were on, but it was not long ago. I had gone for a walk by myself (which might be why this is memorable).
I was lamenting as I walked, complaining mostly but lamenting sounds more biblical. Either way it was not grateful conversation. I turned into our cul-de-sac and over the sound was a huge flash of lightning and a loud boom. At that moment it occured to me. God could strike me down right now. In fact, for all of my moaning, He should. If I had been him, I would definately have considered it.
When you are tired, tiny, discouraged - God's response is not frustration or disappointment, it is tenderness.
In 1st Kings the prophet Elijah has been fed by ravens (17:6-7), he resided with the widow of Zarephth where indeed the oil did not run out (17:16). He prayed for the healing of her son who was dead and his life was restored (17:21-22). He had been party to God's proving himself before the prophets of baal by igniting fire on the wet altar that he had built (18:38-39). God had been ridiculously, obviously present in Elijah's life for some time.
Even so, after all of those events, when he hears that Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab, plans to kill him he is afraid and runs away. He tells the Lord, essentially, "I have had it. I am done. I am tired." Now, instead of getting frustrated with Elijah, he gives him a really long nap. He has an angel awaken him and feed him - "and he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water."
It is such a compassionate gesture.
This response of God to his pitiful, fearful, grumpy little prophet is like that of a mother (on a good day) putting her toddler down for a nap. HE does not reach down and slap him and shout "Elijah, you who have borne witness to my mighty power, actually think that Jezebel is going to take your life one moment before my ordained time for you?!"
If I were God, that's what I would have said, only with uglier words I am sure.
And, if I were God that day that I was on the beach I think I might have been tempted to have that lightning strike at least close enough for me to feel the electricity.
HE could have and probably should have.
The Lord has blessed us and kept us these years, He has surrounded us with people to help us at every corner. And, when I complain, He puts me to bed like a tired toddler (or sends me to the beach) and feeds me, and waits for me to see again.
This tenderness? This is our God.
He who is the great I AM.