12th November 2018
I found myself looking around church during one of the hymns on Sunday.
On the row in front of me was an old woman, too frail to stand for the hymns but nevertheless there, worshipping in her seat.
Across the aisle a mother stood cradling her baby, I couldn’t help but smile watching her holding her in close, rocking her to the sound of the music, gazing at her with such love as she sang. It really was a beautiful picture of immense maternal, unconditional love.
As I watched her a thought crossed my mind. When our timeless God sees this precious child, he doesn’t only see a sweet, adorable baby. He’s timeless, he sees her whole life. He sees her as he sees the frail old woman sitting on the row in front, perhaps time weathered and exhausted but smiling and singing nonetheless.
Whatever this child will become God sees that all now. He sees every step she will take, every struggle she will face. He knows everyone she will ever love and every success she will celebrate. He hears every cruel word she will ever speak, every callous thought that will cross her mind. He already has collected all the tears she will shed in a jar. Every day of this child’s life is written in his book, the good, the bad. Every. Single.Thing. He can see it all, now, stretched before her. Outside of the confines of our time she is not just an infant, full of potential. She is everything she will ever do, say and think. He sees her, all of her. He knows her.
And yet he gazes at her with the unconditional love I see her mother gazing at her with. He loves her.
I look at my nine year olds squirming in their seats giving each other a shove or a glare, struggling to be quiet, completely disengaged from the service around them. I think of my teenager, still in bed, dealing with all that teenage angst. And I’m reminded that God was there when I was a giddy nine year old and a confused teenager. That when he looks at me he sees me just as he sees this baby; as the youngest baby in her family, born after years of trying- precious, wanted, loved; as the annoying five year old drawing on her sisters homework; as the muddled teenager; the scared student; the newly wed full of hope; the exhausted new mum; the victim huddled on the floor cradling her bruised body. He sees the anger, he sees the tears, he sees my joy and my heart so overflowing with love for those he’s put around me that I sometimes think it might burst. He sees my future, he sees the things I will do, he looks at me now and sees the achievements and failures I haven’t even considered. He sees all the sins I will commit. He sees the people I will love and the tears I’ll shed for them. He sees me facing future adversity and knows if I’ll do so with dignity or not. He sees that point when my body will break, when life will leave me and I’ll breathe my last. All of it. Good. Bad and everything in between. He sees it. He sees me, me completely, and his heart is filled with joy.
And as I look around my church, at all these people praising God, I see young and old, black and white, rich and poor, and I’m suddenly overhwelmed by the joy they all bring to their God as he looks on their lives, their whole entire lives, the sum total of everything they are and will ever be, so vastly different from each other, so flawed and imperfect and wonderful. All loved, in their completeness, by their creator.