Years ago, I once had someone tell me that God was the kindest person that they had ever met. I pondered that statement for days. I had never thought of God as kind, it just wasn’t something I expected of God. However, today, I would agree whole-heartedly with this statement…..God truly is the kindest, most gracious individual I have ever encountered. But I will confess, I haven’t always felt this way.
I grew up with a very authoritarian father and an absent mother. My dad was always “bigger than life” to me and whatever he said RULED! As a child, I rarely was able to express my thoughts or feelings on issues that concerned me. It was expected that I would simply submit to the wishes of my father. One year when I was away at college, I came home and found my dad a radically changed man. There were some dire circumstances that had come into his life and in a moment, he had to make a choice……KNOW God or continuing living a life apart from God – trusting in his own arm of flesh. As a result, my dad had a powerful encounter with the LORD where HIS will submitted and yielded to God’s. This event brought about instant changes in my dad’s life. As a result, there was a softness and gentleness about him that I had never seen. My dad became very compassionate and caring about other people’s feelings and he exuded more patience than ever before. I enjoyed being around my dad as a result of his new demeanor and our relationship grew and flourished. As I entered into adulthood fully, I found my dad and I becoming great friends and there was an intimacy forming between us that I had always longed for.
I tell you all this so you can understand WHY it wasn’t always easy for me to see God as kind. Oftentimes, the dynamics of how we relate to our earthly father is how we relate or interact with our heavenly Father. I don’t believe this is something people are intentional about doing, it just happens. Especially if you don’t start walking with the LORD until later in life or perhaps you didn’t have an earthly father that modeled kindness or gentleness. Which in my situation was what happened.
The last 28 years of walking with God intimately has developed within me a deep appreciation of this truth. As I have matured, I am able to recognize my heavenly Father as kind, loving, compassionate and slow to get angry. All these attributes of God can be found in scriptures, but unless you spend time getting to know him personally, it will be difficult knowing Him in this way. My journey with God has proven over and over, that He shows us His glory and lovingkindness on a daily basis- we simply need to look for it or we might miss it.
My pastor challenged us as a congregation to pray the Lord’s prayer and Psalm 23 three times a day for the entire month of January. The last verse of Psalm 23 reads: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me ALL the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Because I believe that God wants His word to actually get inside of us and grow, I have taken this promise to heart. I am actually looking and expecting God’s goodness and mercy to follow me. As I submit to His leading in my daily life, a favor has come upon me that has unlocked miracles, joy and peace, not only for myself, but my entire family. This is what God’s goodness and mercy looks like. Favor is the attraction of God towards you, that releases an influence through you, so that everything you need in order to accomplish your assignment begins to be drawn to you.
In the book of Exodus, Moses, a man like us, desired an intimate encounter with his God. He prayed and asked God to show him His glory. As God answered this request, He took Moses on a high place and “passed” before him. God then proclaimed all of His glory and nature to Moses. “And the LORD proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin….”
Isn’t this powerful? Isn’t this what kindness looks like? I can just start jumping up and down on this promise alone! This is our God! This is our heavenly Father, that we can know, interact with and experience kindness from. My friend, if you do not know God in this way, I beg you to do as Moses did. Call out to God, pray and ask Him to show you His glory. I promise you, this prayer will get answered and you will be blown away by God’s loving-kindness.
Be intentional and expect to see God’s goodness and mercy following you every day. Turn around and look behind you – these are HIS guideposts and promises towards you as His son or daughter.
“Father, because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will always praise You. I ask you to show me your kindness and mercy every day. Forgive me for not trusting in Your promises. Change my heart so that I will desire, like Moses, to have an encounter with your compassion, grace and patience.”