I have a family member/friend who struggles often with defensiveness. I try to give of myself and work to find compromises between our differences, but she often attributes wrong motives to me. If I try to ask something of her, no matter how I ask it, or share my feelings, she gets all bristly and thinks I’m out to “get her.” She has no understanding of how much I work at reaching out to her and loving her. It hurts.
I think God must feel that way with us. He loves us and wants to share Himself with us. He wants to provide us with good blessings. He wants us to draw close to Him and for us to share ourselves with Him – our burdens, our thoughts, our concerns. He even allows for us to share when we think He’s not being fair to us! He’s good enough and loving enough He cares about all of it.
But if we only feel that God is out to get us OR if we feel like God has a big hoop we must try and jump through to please Him – how frustrated He must get. How frustrated, too, He must get if we only think of God’s love as a sweet platitude that requires nothing from us in return. Try that in a marriage!
He must think – what else can I do to show them that I love them? I’ve given them my son, I’ve paid the price and fulfilled the requirements for them, I’ve given them my word and myself – sharing my heart with them, I’ve given them beautiful glorious, blessings in creation to reveal my goodness, my power, and my ability. I’ve promised and shared with them the good I have in store for them and still they do not understand my love for them as well as my love for justice and righteousness.
God says to us – you do not understand who I am and what I want to share with you about myself. Come to me – try and see if I am not good and kind and loving. Come to me and see if I don’t have much, much more to pour out into your life that you can’t even begin to imagine.
God has committed Himself to be with His people permanently-not to come and go-but to be available at any and all times to His people. The glorious, astonishing God has great plans for the happiness of His people who draw near to Him. Just as a loving parent would, God corrects what is harmful to us, but loves us dearly.
(Taken partially from a notation-inset in my Bible – The Student Bible NIV: Notes by Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford, Zondervan Publishing)
May we learn to put our defenses down. May we learn who God is. This means understanding what He loves and desires and what His good purposes are. This means slowing down and spending time with Him, studying and listening to Him, so that “we know that we know” that He is good and kind and loving towards us and we’re safe to let go of our blustery ways.
Throughout Scripture God tells us –
“I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God and they shall be my people.”2 Corinthians 6:16