I have been thinking about my Daddy a lot lately. I had been thinking about him almost every day since he went home to be with the Lord last year. However, in these past few weeks, it has been multiple times a day. I think about his love, his kindness, compassion and generosity. I think about how much I want to carry on his legacy of being Jesus’ hands and feet for those in need. I think about how he loved without expecting anything in return. That is so hard for many of us. We are so conditioned by this world to love only when it is reciprocated, to give only when the person deserves it according to our standards.
God does not love us only when we love Him in return. He chose to love us so much that even in our sin, He sent Jesus to die for us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
He sent Jesus Christ, the sinless Lamb of God as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world, for every single one of us even those He knew would not love Him.
It is strange sometimes the things that we remember about a person after they go on to Glory. I was thinking about my Daddy’s hands. I was always fascinated by his hands, even as an adult. His hands never changed over the years. His physical appearance did as he aged. He shrunk in height. He lost weight and hair. What was left of his hair was grey. Yet, his hands never changed. Even when he became very sick with cancer and became very thin, his hands stayed the same. They were very strong, yet soft. His hands looked like a young athlete’s hands. Yet, his skin was very soft. Strong and soft, just like my Daddy. He was physically strong into his eighty’s before He became afflicted with cancer. He was strong in his beliefs, strong in his faith and strong in his will to live. He was a strong family man. His heart was soft and tender towards others. That did not change.
Everything is not always either or. Sometimes things are and, and both. Many times things are hard and good. In the hard places, there is good because God is good and He is with us in the hard places. He also uses the hard to bring the good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
As I was reminded of Daddy’s hands, and picturing them in my mind, I was encouraged about the contrast between soft and strong. I believe that Jesus, as He walked this earth 2000 years ago, ministered to people in a way that was both soft and strong. Jesus was soft, in that He was gentle, humble, kind, loving and compassionate. He was also strong. He strongly declared the Word of truth to all He encountered. He strongly opposed the Pharisees and religious leaders of that time for their hypocrisy and oppression. He strongly denounced sin. He strongly resisted temptation. He strongly endured persecution and ultimately death on the cross for our sins. Jesus was soft and strong. Therefore, we should be, too.
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:13-17
“His tenderness, which we love and so desperately need, is all the more striking because of His toughness toward sin and unbelief. His compassion for the afflicted would be undermined if not flanked by righteous anger toward their afflicters.” David Mathis, desiringGod.org
I am so thankful for Jesus! He showed us how to be soft and strong. My Daddy represented Him well in that way. My desire is to do the same. May we all have courage to do the same.
Heavenly Father, I bless your Holy Name! You are so kind and generous in your love and faithfulness. You gave us Jesus to set the perfect example for us in being soft and strong. He made the ultimate sacrifice to die on the cross for our sins so that we may live an abundant life in Christ our Savior. May we be encouraged to walk in His ways. Please help us to be bold and courageous, strong and unwavering in our faith, yet, still be gentle, humble and tenderhearted towards others. Yes, help us be soft and strong like Jesus. Thank you, Lord! We give you all the Glory! In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen and Amen!
By Lanette Black, IWM Board Secretary