Friday, March 23, 2007


"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often i have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" - Luke 13:34

What an amazing, yet heart-breaking verse.

God's heart is so compassionate and loving that he literally longs to gather his children together - as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings. What a lovely analogy. It denotes an almost divine jealousy that God has for his people. That is comforting and reassuring - we can be gathered safely under God's wings and looked after as a parent looks after a child. That is what Jesus seems to be suggesting. That seems to be his heart. His longing.

Yet the most distressing thing here is that He goes on to say 'but you were not willing'. There is no lack in His love or His desire to care for his children. The problem here would appear to be that 'they were not willing.' They did not receive what was being offered. How unimaginably awful would it be to stand before God and hear Him say 'i longed for you, to gather you as one of my own... but you were not willing." This is really serious. This is tragic. Flippin tragic. But it is the reality for so many people today. And even as christians i think half the time it's hard to receive what God offers us. Why is that? Are we really such stubborn and proud and hardened people that we are unwilling to be gathered under God's wings? It would appear so.

I don't think i realised, until i was unwell, how often i, even as a Christian, reject grace and love that is freely offered me. It was only when i was rendered completely useless, and needed to rely on help from others, that i realised how much i had to learn about receiving still and how strangely hard it can actually be. I am nothing other than what God makes me or gives me. I am nothing and can never give anything, unless i learn how to receive. If i want to live through God's grace, rather than my own strength, i have to continuously receive. Receive that which is freely given.

In some ways this verse frightens me. But it makes me also think how beautiful Jesus' heart is, and how painful it must be for Him to suffer continuous rejection. Later on it says that "as he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it." (Luke 19.41.) It is never possible to deny God's abundant heart of love and compassion for His people. It is the people's unwillingness to receive it, or their lack of love for God that is the problem. A grievious, heart-wrenching problem.

I sometimes think to myself as i walk down the street, that in a way i am walking through a war-zone of injured, dying people, or through a cemetry of those who are spiritually dead and are rejecting God. And it actually makes me want to be physically sick. It hurts my guts so badly that i don't know what to do with it. The pain of losing someone close to you is horrible - and in a wierd way, the reality is that there is a nation of people that need grieving over too... people who are spiritually dead. What do i do in response to this? I don't know. What did Jesus do? He wept. He wept for those lost forever. And He wept for Lazarus who He was about to raise back to life. It would appear that no matter what hope, or lack of hope, there is for some-one's future, Jesus still weeps over the reality of the situation as it is, at that moment. Would it help for me to weep? I don't know. Or is it something we can not physically bare and only God can? To some degree quite possibly. I think the pain of seeing your friends and family rejecting God is so intense it is unbareable. But maybe we are called to share in it to some degree though. I don't even think it's necessarily a choice... unless your heart is hard then you're going to feel it to some extent i guess. It does say in in Romans 8.22-23 "that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth". And in John 16.20 "that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy."

This is quite an intense topic and i have had it on my heart and mind for a long time now. So i don't expect to come up with a nice, concise, blog entry today. That is not possible. All that is left for me to do now, is say i'm very grateful that i have a caring and infinitely wise God.... who raised up dry bones from a valley and raised up His son from the tomb.... With such a God, all things are possible........

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