Devotional 15th November 2018
'The Father's Kindness'
‘It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms but they did not realise it was I who healed them.I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love.I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.’Hosea 11: 3-4
In the last devotional I shared a prophetic word expressing God’s desire to speak to us and be in close relationship with us. As I prayed today about how to follow that, I sensed Him saying He wants us to grow in our expectation of how He loves us and to think about the different ways He makes His love known.
So today we are thinking about His kindness, one of the key fruits of the Spirit.
What does it mean to us that the Lord is kind?
How do we picture it?
And experience it?
Kindness is a beautiful quality and we are all enriched by the kind acts of those around us. But kindness is also a hands-on expression of giving and experiencing love. A friend making us a cuppa on a difficult day or looking after the baby while we have some free time; the neighbour helping to get the shopping when we are poorly; a friend sticking up for us and refusing to believe negative rumours…...all these are examples of kindness, simple actions that we might experience every day.
But how do we experience it from God who we cannot see or touch?
One key is that expressed in the verses above from Hosea 11:-
‘I led them with cords of human kindness’
God is the author of attributes like kindness and faithfulness, so when we experience them from a person, do we realise or take time to drink in that this is actually God working through them to bless us? Think how Jesus expressed kindness to all He met, the leper begging for healing whom Jesus touched with a loving gesture bringing healing not just physically but emotionally too, the woman at the well, whom he reached out to, kindly affirming that he respected her and wanted to share his heart with her, Peter’s mother, ill with a fever and important enough for Jesus to take time to minister to, the lady caught in adultery who was about to be stoned but Jesus refused to walk that road of condemnation….His kindness was manifested at all times and in so many ways, the expression of love that truly cares.
So how do we grow deeper in our experience of God’s kindness?
In the Hosea passage God is saying that He showed His love and kindness in the way He cared for the Israelites, how He provided for their needs, guided them and taught them how to live a live of faith. He was longing for them to take the time to reflect and understand that He was behind all the good that came to them, to be thankful and growing in their loving responsiveness to Him.
They so often failed to do that and so do we! And yet if we do just take those moments everyday to reflect, understand and thank Him for the small or large signs of His kindness we will be so enriched.
Last week I was returning home from a visit to my mother’s but there was a problem on the train – points failure.An announcement was made which in my deafness I didn’t hear.But a man across the aisle noticed Goldie my hearing dog and took the time to realise that I probably hadn’t heard. He wrote the announcement down for me and a short while later when we were told we all had to get a bus instead, he took time to help me not only to know what was going on but to walk with me, ensuring I knew where to go.I was amazed at his kindness for me a total stranger, and knew it was the Lord caring for me on what turned out to be quite a difficult journey.Yet at the end, instead of feeling harassed I was full of thankfulness at how God’s love and care had been so evident.
He delights in making His kindness known to us everyday, often in the most surprising of ways.
Will we have eyes to notice and take those kindnesses to heart?
Will we make time to thank Him and draw closer in His love?
Thank you dear Father for your amazing kindness to me and the myriad of ways you show me your love every day, even through total strangers.Please open my eyes and my heart to be aware of those moments you are drawing close to love me through someone’s kind act or word.I long to be someone who is responsive and thankful at all times. Amen