The God Who Longs to Be Gracious

Ann Spangler
Ann Spangler
2019 8 Jan

An extreme closeup of a dandelion bloom with yellow light glowing above it.

When my elderly mother had to have a PICC line inserted in her upper arm to combat a persistent infection, I held her hand as the nurse specialist performed an ultrasound and then carefully inserted a long, slender, tube into a large vessel he had located near her heart.

Suffering from confusion and anxiety, my mother had already pulled out a previous IV, inserted because she was refusing to swallow pills. The PICC line was more difficult to yank out and provided better delivery of the medicine. Before I left that morning I did my best to explain why she needed the procedure, even managing to extract a promise that under no circumstances would she think of removing it.

Within three days the PICC line was gone because my frail-as-a-feather Mother had managed to pull it out. That experience made me wonder about how many times I fail to receive what I need because I find it difficult to trust God, to believe deep down that he is faithful.

God says he owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and yet I feel anxious about the future. He says he is slow to anger and quick to forgive, and yet I felt as though he was chronically angry because I was less than perfect. He says he longs to be gracious, and yet I anticipate more trouble than blessing.

How would our lives change if we truly understood God’s faithfulness? Would we be so frustrated and fearful if we knew that God will never break his promises because he cannot be faithless to himself? Though it’s hard to wait for what seems like an intolerably long time to receive his blessings, wouldn’t we have more peace if we had complete confidence in God?

Sometimes we impugn God’s character by questioning his power and his goodness. Regardless of what we are facing, let’s ask him to defeat our anxiety and unbelief. No matter how strong the pressure against faith is, let’s refuse to yank out the spiritual PICC line that he wants to place near our hearts.

Trying to live the Christian life without believing in God’s faithfulness is like attempting to scale a mountain without legs and arms. It’s like running a marathon after you’ve been on a starvation diet. If you find yourself tired and tempted to give up, ask God to give you what you need today—an increase in faith and hope. As you spread your need before him, put whatever faith you do have into believing he will hear and help, remembering that he has promised to keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when he returns.