There’s a scene in John Steinbeck’s classic novel Of Mice and Men where the kind-hearted but dim-witted character Lennie literally loves his puppy to death.
Lennie means only to snuggle and coddle the cute little critter, but doesn’t know his own strength or understand how fragile the puppy is, and he accidentally kills it.
At the risk of stating the obvious, God isn’t like Lennie.
God does know His own strength, and He knows precisely how fragile we are – and He never handles us too roughly.
There’s a scene in 1 Kings 19, where Elijah, hiding in a cave, is told to go out and stand on a mountain in the presence of the Lord, for He is about to pass by.
“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” – 1 Kings 19:11-13a
God wasn’t in the terrifying power of the wind, the earthquake or the fire. He revealed Himself to Elijah in a gentle whisper, because that’s just what the tormented prophet needed at that moment.
But God’s gentleness isn’t reserved for when we’re at our most pathetic and vulnerable, it’s a 24-7 reality.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29-30
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” – Isaiah 40:11
He has all the power in the universe at His fingertips, and every justification for dealing with us harshly. And yet, He chooses to be gentle.
Thanks be to God.
Peace be with you.