How is God different from me? He initiates and values life. There is no place in the Bible that shows that better than Psalm 139. This past Sunday was Sanctity of Life Sunday. It started to remind us of the unborn and the importance of their lives, but has evolved to celebrate all of life and its value. God has initiated and He values preborn life, the life of the elderly, the life of the injured and otherwise handicapped, the life of the person born with congenital issues. All of life is valued. That includes the value placed on the person who lovingly cares for the person who needs care as well.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 ESV
I’m simply quoting the section of Psalm 139 that is most applicable here, but for the full context, you would do well to read all of the Psalm. During this past weekend, there have been many pro-life events taking place around the nation. But although these events often focus on the unborn, they are not only for the unborn.
God values all of life: the poor, the marginalized, the infirm, the elderly, the handicapped of all types…and yes, the unborn too.
They are meant to honor all human life including the poor, marginalized, handicapped, infirm and elderly as well. God honors all life. He often uses the weak and infirm to grow and strengthen us in our trust in Him as we learn to care for them and love people who are different or to slow down for people who can’t keep up with us. There are many challenges to living with people who are struggling and need help.
But in caring for them, we learn more about the love of God for us and for others. We learn more about patience. We learn more about trusting God and His timing for us and them and their lives. It isn’t always easy. We can’t always plan ahead in ways we would like. But in the end, we grow in grace in ways we never would have grown otherwise.
Caregiving teaches us about God’s love for us. It also teaches us about how patient and longsuffering He is with us. It shows us where we lack. It reminds us of His promise to never leave or forsake us…ever. No matter how lonely we feel, He is with us.
We also learn about God’s love as we live with people who are different from us and learn to love them and appreciate their limitations. We may even come to appreciate our own limitations…to our patience! At times, it can be difficult. They don’t always do things the way we do. They tend to think differently from us. Living with them causes us to have to change the way we do things. It isn’t easy. We have to lay down our cross so to speak, in order to live with them. We can’t always do things the way we want to. It is often inconvenient.
Then, when it comes to caregiving, we really have to change. They often can’t. We have to become flexible.
In my experience over the past almost 8 years of caregiving, I have experienced learning to slow down for someone who can’t keep up, to watch out for safety issues for someone whose balance is off, to struggle with fear that there might be another stroke coming (and there were), to have late night ER runs for strokes and other health issues, to deal with falls that were painful for him and awful to watch happen because I couldn’t move fast enough to keep them from happening.
And in the middle of it all were times of loneliness, feeling deserted, wondering if God really cared for me, if anyone else cared for me, getting back into God’s Word to immerse myself in the truth over and over again just as David did.
God’s thoughts toward us are precious. Can that really be true?
Isn’t that last section beautiful? Over the past few years, I am coming to believe that is the truth and Satan’s accusatory comments that repeatedly are yelled in my direction are wrong. What could be sweeter?
“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!”
In the end, this is a good place to end. Yes, God initiates and values life. That is a true fact.
But His thoughts toward me are precious. That touches my heart to the point where I want to cry.
What a sweet mix of fact and feeling.