Our encouraging word for today is gentleness.
The synonyms listed in the Microsoft Word Thesaurus include such lovely meanings as mildness, calmness, kindness, tenderness, quietness, softness, lightness, restfulness, and peacefulness. How might we need a little gentleness today?
~ Perhaps we need a reminder to be gentle with one another…
Along with the stresses of uncertainty, upheaval, and unknowns of this pandemic time, there can be additional stresses in relationships. In his podcast, God in All Things, Andy Otto mentions the fatigue from “the near constant energy focused in just one or two places for nearly the whole day. During pre-pandemic times my stream of energy was broken up throughout the day and diversified.”¹ Parenting is fun- until we are parenting all day with restless children. Spouses are a joy- until we have too much togetherness and one of us needs some solitude time. Families are lively- until we grow bored and find there is nothing new to say (Jim and I opened a pack of conversation starter cards to foster new and insightful discussions).
ALL OF US are experiencing this pandemic for the first time. None of us are experts in handling all the issues that arise. As my daughter was first setting up a video calling system to meet with her patients, the IT experts were struggling to make everything go smoothly, her patients were hesitant to try this new way of meeting, and her office staff was scrambling to keep up with the changes. She said, “We are just going to have to do lots of forgiving these days!” Wise words. We all are just trying to find our way.
Colossians 3:12 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
We may find it helpful to keep in mind that Christ is present where we are. God in Christ can observe the way we are treating one another- as well as help and guide us to do this with gentleness and kindness.
Philippians 4:5 (NIV)
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
~ Perhaps we need a reminder to be gentle with our days and plans…
Our days are unusual and unexpected to say the least. We need to hold our schedules, routines and plans with gentleness, too. My writing projects have slowed a bit as I am staying with my grandchildren while the daycares are closed. This wasn’t my plan, but I am relishing this time of bonding and memory making! We also hadn’t planned to cancel our family vacation but our family can remain connected through shared conversations, texts, videos, photos and prayer.
I had two other blog posts in mind for this week but struggled with the writing of them. Then in recent days, two of the podcasts I follow were about gentleness. The Bible passage I read yesterday included the words, “do this with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15). I finally said, “Okay God, I guess gentleness is my next word.” This post was much easier to write! I am learning to hold my plans gently. I hope this lesson remains with me- even when we begin to have more normalcy to our days.
Psalm 32:8 (NIV)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
~ Most of all, perhaps we need a reminder that, through all of this, God continues to be gentle with us.
We are going to have some times when we simply are not at our best. There will be times when we disappoint or lose our temper or react badly. This can happen even when conditions are ideal! So when we know we have behaved in less than pleasing ways, we can still trust that we are forgiven and restored in the power of God’s gentle and merciful love.
God loves us fiercely, and yet God comes to us gently, much like the sunrise that ever so gradually brings a new and brighter day. May we never forget that we can give all of our trials and mistakes to God, and begin each day anew.
Psalm 86:15 (NIV)
But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Matthew 11:29 (NIV)
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Today my prayer is that we may treat one another with gentleness, hold our days with gentleness, and look to God for gentle guidance, forgiveness and love. At the end of the day, we will be better prepared to rest in the gentleness found in God’s peace and the stillness of the night.
When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time.
Saint Francis de Sales
A Christian reveals true humility by showing the gentleness of Christ, by being always ready to help others, by speaking kind words and performing unselfish acts, which elevate and ennoble the most sacred message that has come to our world.
Ellen G. White
Bible verses taken from https://www.biblegateway.com/
Quotes found at https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/
Photo by Karen 🙂 in Hurricane, WV