"Tender Or Tough"
There are times in our lives when we feel ourselves to need a tender hand from our Heavenly Father. However, if we could audibly heart His voice, He might seem to respond quite differently. "Get up and quit feeling sorry for yourself! I have provided the grace for such a time as this. Now arise and go forward!" Conversely, we may sometimes expect great firmness, and again, if we could audibly hear His voice, a rebuke would surely seem to be forthcoming. Instead, our Lord orchestrates things that greatly encourage us by His tendermercies. "Thy lovingkindness is before my eyes" (Psalm 26:3).
This says much about our Heavenly Father, and much about ourselves. He always works in our lives according to His character, understanding, and purpose rather than our own. Because He is love, this means He works according to our best interests, which always align with His best interests. This often conflicts with our perception of things and of ourselves. At best, we have limited understanding of our own needs, and more pointedly, of ourselves. The Apostle Paul admitted the limitations of his own self-awareness: "the things which I do, I allow (understand) not!" (Romans 7:15). Indeed, other than God, the person most mysterious to us is ourselves.
Our Lord often operates in our hearts and lives pretty much as we might anticipate. However, we do well to expect the unexpected. He can be tough when we hope for tender, and tender when we are sure tough is coming. Since we have committed our eternal well being into His heart and hands, we can always be sure He administers His love in perfection. "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31). The Lord will often surprise us, whether pleasantly or unpleasantly, but He will never violate His loving devotion to the best possible administration of His love. Tender or tough both proceed from God's infinite knowledge, understanding, and wisdom rather than our limited awareness of ourselves. Let us be forever grateful.
"Thou, God, seest me."
"O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men."