I am still alive.
The Lord has been breathing His very own Life into me during these shadowed days and I have found it is enough. I still feel heavy. And sad. And gray. But in the midst of thick clouds, the Son has been my Light and it is enough. His Word has been "the richest of fare" even when I have had no appetite, and Jesus is my Rock as I scramble for purchase on the side of this steep muddy hill. Praise God . . .
He is enough.
Deuteronomy 33:12 says, "About Benjamin he said: 'Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.'"
Benjamin was a name that we considered for every single one of our four sons. It means "son of my right hand" in Hebrew and can also be rendered "favored son".
I love this passage of Scripture because when I read it, I am Benjamin. The rest is nothing short of medicinal: "Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."
The Lord brought me back to this passage again today as I was aching over some "can't take any mores" and when I spotted something new, it occurred to me to share it with you here:
". . . all day long."
It has always been a comforting passage but this angle really brought it to life for me as I considered how I mother my sons. Daniel especially needs a lot of snuggles still as he fights the dragon Leukemia, but all of our boys used to love sitting with me in the rocking chair. We would snuggle up close sharing a blanket and I would rock them and sing. We were warm and comfortable but mostly together, and the only thing that ever ruined that was when I would have to get up.
I would have work to do or it would get late or my legs would be falling asleep. Sometimes I succumbed to the sweet little, "Longer, Mama!" but ultimately I would have to put the boy down and move on to something else.
This is not the case when Jesus holds me. He never has to get up. And "between his shoulders". You know where that is, don't you? It's right where Daniel goes every time he climbs into my lap. He cuddles up into a tight ball in my arms with his head right under my chin - against my heart. A mother instinctively draws her child to that very place when she holds him because he IS her heart. This is how Jesus holds His beloved too. He longs to hold me tightly in His arms with my head between his shoulders, against his heart and He shields me there all day long. There is nowhere else He has to go and nothing He would rather do than hold me close in my desperate need.
I draw him close to my heart and stroke his hair (which I still don't take for granted). I tell him I love him and for a few minutes we don't talk about "the thing". I just shield him from challenges and irritations and I remind him how precious he is to me. Then I acknowledge what upset him in the first place and we talk. I try to bring both understanding and perspective - and sometimes he lets me. Sometimes he argues with me and then more snuggles and some listening are required to soften his indignant heart. Almost always Daniel and I can ultimately end up in a place of humility; where he can hear truth and wisdom and acknowledge where he went wrong.
That's when I tell him that we can't do it. On our own he can't be righteous and neither can I, no matter how badly we want to; no matter how much we recognize the need; no matter how clearly we see that things would be sooooo much easier . . . The only way we can do what is right is if Jesus helps us. And that's when we bow our heads and talk to Him together.
This is the picture I see in my heart when I read Deuteronomy 33:12 because I've been struggling with my attitude lately too. Yet despite my failings and all the difficulty I have on some days just putting one foot in front of the other . . . I can "rest secure in Jesus, for He shields me all day long as I rest between his shoulders". Oh. How. I Need. This.
I have found that this is the only antidote for a bad case of "I can't take any more". Some snuggles. Some assurance. Some perspective. And the reminder, that even though I can't do it without Him, it's OK . . .
He'll be there all day long.
(Hurricane image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev @ FreeDigitalPhotos.com)