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.

Freedom

It took me awhile to figure out that God will bless me more with my freedom than I can.

I used to guard my freedom carefully. To begin with, I avoided trying God for years because I feared it would mean the loss of all freedom. Then when I surrendered to God’s love, I quickly saw that he blessed me way more in exercising his freedom to direct my life than I could ever imagine or accomplish.

Yet even after years of knowing God, and with a history of being blessed by him, I STILL wrestle with giving up my freedom; I am sometimes slow to exchange it for his choice for me. How foolish, how futile…. and the most effective way to rob oneself. Without exception, I have always regretted choosing my way over his; and I have NEVER regretted choosing his choice for me.

Jesus knew we would face this struggle. Indeed, as a man in a flesh suit like us, I believe he experienced this struggle as well, which could well be one reason why he carefully said to his disciples before going to the cross:

“Remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love.”  John 15:9-10

When he says, “you will remain in my love,” he isn’t saying he will keep loving you because you obey him! He is saying, “I want you to experience all the fullness of my love for you. I want my love to be the foundation and definition of your life. I want you to LIVE there.”

I can identify with something of this in how I feel about my own children. I loved them way more than I could effectively put into action, because as they grew up they increasingly had freedom of choice, and sometimes they made choices that subtracted from all that I wanted for them out of the fullness of my love. Of course, my choices would admittedly be imperfect and perhaps not all wise or even best for them, but we can be sure that the Lord’s choices for us are always those things. I say it often: God’s will is His love coming to you.

You couldn’t spend your freedom on anything better than that.