I don’t know about you, but I grew up with an image of a not-so-tender God. Visions of a patriarch who was monitoring my meanderings with varying degrees of severity and the occasional proverbial pat on the head, was a more accurate picture of what I held in my head as a child and young(er) adult. I certainly didn’t think of God as a being of tender mercy, who would cause the dawn to break upon me. The image was not created by overtly sinister descriptions of God, more by the feeling I got when I heard of all the rules I “needed” to live by if I were to be “a good Christian girl.” Those misleading human-made rules, combined with a religious father who was mentally unstable, had me feeling very fearful and suspicious of God.
It wasn’t until I became a parent and realized that God couldn’t be as awful as I had envisioned. After all, if we are called God’s children, God surely must love us at least as much as I loved my own children, right?
Gradually, as my fear of God was dismantled, like a gentle dawn breaking the night sky, the tenderness of God began to permeate and enrich my life.
God, open our hearts to experience your tenderness and unconditional love. Amen. — KG