Resting Between His Shoulders

It’s 6 a.m., and I have settled into a chair near the wide open back door where I can feel the coastal breezes waft in, and hear the first bird songs of the morning. As usual, I have my creamy tea in hand. After greeting the Lord with “Good morning,” I ask, “What do you want us to do today, Lord?” The answer comes, 

“Rest in my love.”

Tears of relief and joy well up. Relief, because I realize I am a little on the weary side this morning. I don’t know how much I need to rest with Him until I hear the words. Joy, because this is the God who saved me and with whom I share life. 

I lean back, and the words of Moses bubble up to the surface of my mind: “The one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.” This is part of the blessing/destiny Moses spoke over the tribe of Benjamin — the youngest of Israel’s sons, the baby of the family, who forever in my mind and theology represents the child of God. The greater blessing says, “The beloved of the Lord rests secure in Him, for He shields him all day long. And the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)

I know these words by heart, having claimed them as my own heritage, in faith. And in response to this faith — that the Lord loves it when we lean against Him in childlike faith and presumption of His tender love for us — the Lord has invited me to rest anew in His love. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this invitation. 

How did I come to faith in this way of being with the Lord? These words, among many others in Scripture, which the Holy Spirit has woven together in my heart over years of seeking to know this God. It is like a garment I wear now, made seamless by Jesus’ invitation, “Come to me, all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…” together with His admonition, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom like a little child will never enter it.” 

The kingdom of God is many marvelous things, and I’m sure I’ve only discovered a fraction of them. But I am quite sure that chief among them is resting between God’s shoulders, enjoying His love, in the un-self-conscious faith of a child who is convinced Daddy loves her.


The topic of being childlike with God, and being established in His love, is a major theme of Tonia’s book, “They Will All Know Me,”
available on Amazon.com and in the Shammah Book Store.

Lord, increase our faith!

When the disciples cried out to the Lord in this way, was it because they hadn’t been able to heal someone or drive out a tormenting spirit? No…. it was because he had just told them that forgiveness should be continually extended to those who ask, even if you’ve been repeatedly sinned against by the same person in one day!

“If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”  The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17: 3-5)

Matthew tells us that Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22) Jesus wasn’t literally putting a number on forgiveness, but saying, in their Jewish way, “do it until perfection or completely,” i.e., “as often as it is required of you.”

So why the cry for more faith? And for faith in what, or who? The answer reveals the truth about every instance calling for forgiveness: that for the Christian, the greater issue is between us and the Lord who commands us to forgive, and who, in fact, tells us that we will not be forgiven or blessed by him if we refuse forgiveness.

Here are the matters for which we all need faith, if we are to forgive freely and often for sins committed against us large and small:

Do I believe God when he says he loves justice, and will bring it to every situation, whether I get to know it or not?

Do I believe God when he says I cannot be forgiven by Him until I also forgive others?

Do I believe that the Holy Spirit can enable me by his power to carry forgiveness out, if I make the decision?

Forgiveness is a great act of faith: faith in the goodness of God, faith in the faithfulness of God, faith in the justice of God, faith in the words of God. Our choices about forgiveness always pass through the filter (in our souls) of what we believe about God. Lord, increase our faith!

A Believer’s Prayer

Lord, I know you are with me. I have your promise…in how many ways? “Emmanuel, God with us…”  “I am with you always….”

In faith I cannot doubt you are with me, but in fact it is too easy to ignore your gentle and quiet presence. You are with me when I awake, and when I lay down to sleep at night. You are with me when I’m wrestling with a problem, and when I’m walking the dog. You are with me when I laugh, when I cry, when I yell, and when I hurt. From the moment I believed in you, and knew you died for me, and gratefully asked you to live in my heart, you have been with me. You are with me when I ignore you; every time, all the time. In covenant faithfulness, you cannot, and will not, leave me. Ever.

Lord, hear my prayer: help me, dear Father, precious Lord, and Holy Spirit, to live and think as one who genuinely believes in your presence. Help me to not take you for granted today; help me to break the habit of ignoring you. I want to live every day enjoying your gracious kindness and the comfort of your faithful strength. Above all, I want to live in a way that makes you glad you live in me and sacrificed all so we could share this life..