Today, I took my baby boy, my first-born child, now 29-years-old, the father of my 5-month-old grandchild, Ellie, to the doctor, only to hear the dreaded words spoken to him,
"You have cancer."
"We must operate in 2 days."
What? Not another beloved child of mine put at risk???!!!
I pleaded with God last night as I feared those might be the words I would hear today. God had a "Come to Jesus" moment with me where He asked me to try something that would jolt me back into knowing this God of Love that He is. He asked me to remember a series of affirmations about His love for me. And I did.
Then, as I was reading a wonderful devotional book, Come Away My Beloved by Frances Roberts, God inspired me to physically join with Him in His love for me...
He encouraged me to "handle" Him even as Thomas did when he was going through his doubts, by saying, "Go ahead. Handle Me. It's okay." That's when He asked me,
"Put your hand on My broken heart."
This of course broke my heart as it resonated with the love pouring out from His.
"Now... put your hand on My nail-scarred hand."
I cried as I did so.
"Now can you doubt my love for you? You must not let anything physical (such as cancer) come between My love for you."
I went to sleep in tears, fully aware of His great love for me and my son.
This morning as I read the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), I was reminded that God's Economy is not our economy. We want to nestle our children in a bed of ease for all their days, but God doesn't work like that. He uses difficulty in life to grow us up, to prepare us for doing His work in His kingdom while we are here.
So too, He will use difficulty in our children's lives to prepare them for the good works He has prepared ahead of time for them to do. I have to be reminded so many times over that it is not MY kingdom I am to be building, nor MY CHILDREN'S kingdom that is to be built, but it is
"Hallowed be Thy name, THY Kingdom come, THY will be done on earth as it is in Heaven"
as Jesus starts the Lord's prayer with, AND ends the Lord's prayer with…
"For THINE is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen."
Genesis describes God's Spirit as "hovering" over the earth during its creation...
The Hebrew word translated as 'moved' in verse two (of Genesis 1) is "rachaph", meaning "to hover; as a bird hovering and brooding over it's young". This same word, "rachaph", is used in Deuteronomy 32:11, which describes God's leading the Children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage with this beautiful imagery:
"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth (rachaph) over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So The Lord alone did lead him..."
"Rachaph". The Holy Spirit hovers still, just as He did at creation. He hovers over you and flutters within you. Can you not feel His presence? He covers you with His wings; keeping, cultivating, and nurturing you with care and affection. He is The One Who comforts, guides, and helps you with your weaknesses. He is The One Who bears witness that you are The Father's child. He is The One Who intercedes for you and empowers you. He is The One Who imparts gifts to you for service in The Kingdom. He is One Who will always be there; hovering and watching over you; taking care of you as One over the young in their nest.
But does God intend for us to just stay in the comfy nest?
No, and neither does he intend for my children to always be comfy. He has a real mission and a more lasting purpose for their precious lives than just to live in comfort… And just as His own Son learned obedience through suffering, so do we have to learn thusly, and so do our children…
(The following is found in On Mission with God)
Do you know the ways of God with His people? As Moses prepared to end His earthly journey, he told Israel the ways of God with His people in terms they could remember.
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
4 "You have seen for yourselves what I did to Egypt. You saw how I carried you on the wings of eagles and brought you to myself.
5 " 'Now obey me completely. Keep my covenant. If you do, then out of all of the nations you will be my special treasure. The whole earth is mine. 6 But you will be a kingdom of priests to serve me. You will be my holy nation.' That is what you must tell the Israelites."
New International Reader's Version (NIRV)
9 The Lord's people are his share.
Jacob is the nation he has received.
10 The Lord found Israel in a desert land.
He found them in an empty and windy wasteland.
He took care of them and kept them safe.
He guarded them as he would guard his own eyes.
11 He was like an eagle that stirs up its nest.
It hovers over its little ones.
It spreads out its wings to catch them.
It carries them on its feathers.
12 The Lord was the only one who led Israel.
No other god was with them.
God trains His people for their mission as eagles train their young to fly!
Way of God with His people #1:
He stirs up their nest to get them on His agenda.
When an eagle gets ready to build its nest, it finds a crag or a ledge where wild animals cannot get to it. There the eagle weaves such a large, solid nest out of sticks, branches, briars, or bones that even the high, swirling winds cannot blow it down. Then she lines that nest with feathers, cloth, papers, or anything soft for comfort. The eaglets hatch in that cozy environment. A baby eagle is safe. Above is a mother to protect from the rain with curb service at least three times a day!
The mother eagle knows that these eagles were not born to sit in a nest all of their lives. When the time arrives for them to fly, she reaches into the nest, pulls out all the soft down and paper with her claw, and lets the little eaglets down on the briars, sticks, bones, and branches. They begin to cry out because everywhere they turn they get stuck.
That is what God says He did to Israel; He stirred up their nest. God had given the Israelites the choicest part of Egypt in the land of Goshen when Joseph was the second in command in Egypt. For 400 years Israel was nurtured in this nest. The people had forgotten much about the promised land…. God stirred up their nest. When you get stuck in one of the stages of development, one of God's ways is to make you uncomfortable by stirring your nest, readying you for His next move.
These free people, who had been assured a promised land in which to live, found themselves building storehouses for pagan Pharaoh. That was not what they were meant to be! God had to get them where He wanted them to go, so He let them fall into the hands of a Pharaoh who enslaved them and made their lives miserable. They began to cry out to the Lord. God works with His people this way: He stirs their nest in such a way that they cry out to the Lord. When Israel cried out, God called Moses and said, "I have heard the cries of my people, and I am going to save them." God must get us where we are ready to cry out to Him and say, "God, do something. Somehow, we are not all You promised we would be. We are not doing all we are supposed to be doing."
God stir(s) our nest to teach us to fly by faith.
Way of God with His people #2:
He demonstrates His power by hovering over His people.
After the eagle stirs the nest, she hovers over the nest with her wings to show the eaglets how big she is. In effect, she says,
"Never fear; mother is here. I know you are sitting on briars. I know you are still crying, but don't worry. I have everything under control."
While Israel was stirred up, God sent 10 plagues to show how mighty and powerful He really is! God was hovering over Israel so the Israelites would trust Him and leave their nest to go to the promised land.
When the eagle hovers over the nest, the eaglets realize how big their mother is. Her wingspan can be from 5 to 12 feet. She hovers to free them from worry. After God stirs your nest, He hovers over you. He shows you He is everything you need. God wants you to understand He is big enough to accomplish His mission. When He stirs your nest, God then hovers over you, not to make you comfortable but to cause you to believe Him for the next thing He wants to do in your life. How has God been showing you Himself and His power…?
Way of God with His people #3:
God leads His people to take the next step on mission with Him by bearing them on His wings and then shaking them off.
The next thing the mother eagle does is to place her wing on the edge of the nest and say(s) to the eaglets, "Get off the briars and get on the wing." If they won't do it, she starts beating them until they do. It seems that even their mother has turned against them! God's way is to stir you up, hover over you with His wings, and then bear you up on His wings. Sometimes God has to let you get beaten up by circumstances until you say, "I'll take anything but this." At that point you get on the wing.
Once the eaglets get on her wing, the mother lurches off the cliff and begins to fly. For the first time in their lives, they experience the ecstasy of flight. As they soar through the air, they begin to understand what they were born to do. The mother eagle takes them back to the nest. They jump back into the briars and jump right back on her wing. Again she takes them high above the earth. This time, while they are enjoying their flight, she shakes them off. They go tumbling down. Some fly, and some don't. She dives under those that can't fly and catches them. Again she takes them up to the heights, lets them relax and shakes them off again until they learn how to fly. Another method she sometimes uses is to take them to the edge of the cliff and just push them over. God puts His people in a faith-creating situation to get them to fly in order to fulfill the purpose for which He created them.
God bore Israel on eagle's wings and again and again demonstrated that He was sufficient when the Hebrews flew by faith. In all kinds of ways--the miracles in Egypt, at the Red Sea, the manna, the quail, and the water of the rock--He showed that He wanted them to step out in faith. If they fell, He picked them up and took them up again and again to teach them to fly.
As you reflect on what happened to Israel, recall a circumstance in which you felt God "pushed you…off the cliff" or when God shook you into the air to cause you to fly by faith."
…The Lord of heaven and earth expects His people today to be priestly people and suffering people, willing to lay down our lives to serve others. We are to be an obedient, holy, disciplined, and missionary people. We are to love, serve, suffer, and minister as God does to all people. We are to take the salvation message to the entire world.