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Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Reminder


It was just spilled grape juice.

Yet his rage seemed to be about something more. Something deeper. It felt like hate. A father’s hand against his neck. The grip so tight that he could feel the imprints of fingernails. A grip so tight that the air lost would never return.

When the boy was released from his father’s grip the relief was deeper than the lungs filled with air once again. Finally the hate had stopped….

…and yet somehow it was still there. The grip, while not physically present, was as tight as before.

The feeling that he was useless. That he was unworthy. That he was stupid.

It was all still there…and as he went into adulthood…he believed those words.

He was those words.

Those that have access to your soul are those that can hurt you the most. That is what makes love so dangerous. That is why we often avoid intimacy. That is what makes family so frustrating. That is why you often hate those you love the most. When you reveal yourself to another…you take a risk. You give them your heart and you say “Here. Do what you wish.” And often times, given the freedom, they do not do as we wish.

Not to be belittle the seriousness of this conversation, but I was reflecting on this as I was receiving a back rub. Taryn, my bride, was giving me a back rub (children under 8 stop reading NOW) and as she was really digging in up around my shoulders I said, “You know what’s crazy. You could totally choke me right now, and I would have no chance to escape!”

She laughed.


But most of us have experienced being choked in one way or another. We have risked showing ourselves, exposed our hearts, and then been hurt. And those experiences stay with us. The fathers that leave. The husbands that cheat. The girlfriend that lied. The friend that betrayed. The mother that manipulated.

And with those experiences we reevaluate ourselves. Whether intentional or not, when exposure is taken advantage of we question our worth…our beauty...our glory.


In Psalm 139 King David writes, “How precious are your thoughts to me, God. How vast the sum of them!”

And as I read this text, I missed it the first time. There was a little baby "a". A footnote. That’s right. Grad school taught me that those little guys are important.

It said that “how precious are your thoughts to me, God” could also be translated as “Precious are your thoughts concerning me, O Lord.” Now that sounds very different to me! Rather than me thinking preciously of God’s thoughts, this passage can read that God thinks precious thoughts concerning me. And not one thought, but a vast sum of them! The creator of the universe. The one from which I cannot hide. The one to whom my soul is forever exposed. Thinks. Precious. Thoughts. Of. Me.

My thoughts of myself are not precious. Abuse, pain, and rejection have beat my self-image into the ground. I’m fat. I’m greedy. I’m a failure. I’m a sinner. I’m precious?

Precious thoughts? And a “vast sum” of them?

My perception of others thoughts concerning me? Also not precious. Would it not be pretentious for me to believe that others have amorous thoughts concerning me? How can I trust the thoughts of others when I know the pain of being taken for granted. The pain of being hung out to dry. The pain of loss. The pain of betrayal. How can I trust the thoughts of others, when my story tells me not to trust others?

And yet David, living in this same tension, writes with confidence, “Precious are your thoughts concerning me.” One can hear the echoes of God’s heavenly voice as He announces at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my son with whom I am well pleased.”

Pleased with his precious son.

And God. Pleased with me. Thinking preciously of me. God. Knowing me. Seeing all. Inside and out. Has precious thoughts. And He is well pleased. With me.

And with you.

Father…precious are your thoughts concerning me. Fill me with your thoughts.

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Derrick Fudge said...

Thanks for the unintentional devotional, J. That bible verse was a great little thing for me

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