Some time ago, I read the story about a man and wife who were celebrating fifty years of marriage. They had spent most of the day with family and friends who had come to honor them, but were completely worn out from the festivities. Once they made it home, they decided to share a snack together before laying down for the night. They went into the kitchen where the husband opened up a new loaf of bread and handed the end piece to his wife. Upon receiving it, the wife was furious. She said, “For fifty years you have been dumping the heel of the bread on me, and I am sick of taking it from you. I cannot believe you have been so thoughtless through the years to always offer me the worst piece.” She continued her tirade for several minutes about his being so inconsiderate while he stood there speechless at her words. When she had finished, he said to her quietly, “But itÊ¼s my favorite piece.” All those years she thought he had been inconsiderate when, in reality, he was just thinking of
Far too often in our reading of scripture, we agonize searching for the boulders of wisdom and will miss the pebbles of encouragement. One such nugget I came across recently is found in Psalm 40:17. David was shameful, surrounded, and suffering, but he discovered, “…the Lord thinketh upon me.” Who could imagine that the God who spoke the universe into being, and measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and leveled heaven with His fingertips, and knows every star by name would be mindful of you and me? In the larger scheme of things, we appear so small and so insignificant, but yet His mind never wavers or wanders off of us. Jesus went out of His way to find a lonely woman at a well. Jesus left the glory of the transfiguration to help a desperate father in the valley. Jesus crossed a stormy sea to set a man free from demonic bondage. What a reminder it is that no matter how forgotten we may feel, we are never out of sight and never out of mind. When the world has already turned its back on us, we can rest assured that the Lord keeps His thoughts turned toward us. Have you ever wondered what the Lord thinks when He is reminded of you?
When the Lord thinks of us He adores our nearness. The word “thinketh” in Psalm 40:17 has three beautiful meanings. The first is “to esteem greatly, to think highly of.” To state it more plainly, we are the object of His affection! It has been said, “God loves each one of His people as if there was only one of them to love.” I have made the observation that the more people age in life, the more their priorities shift. Work and wealth are no longer as important as having their children close to them. We hold nearest the things we love dearest. Perhaps that is why the Lord told His prophet in Isaiah 49:16, “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands…” That must explain why the Lord always has a hand in our lives. No wonder when John tried to describe GodÊ¼s love toward us in I John 3:1, he came to the conclusion it was so foreign that itÊ¼s out of this world! No wonder David found GodÊ¼s thoughts toward him in Psalm 139:17 as a rare, valuable treasure. Man may find GodÊ¼s love and feel GodÊ¼s love, but he will never fathom GodÊ¼s love!
When the Lord thinks of us He anticipates our need. The second meaning of the word “thinketh” is “to plan, to calculate.” While traveling for our summer vacation, a preacher friend called to warn me of a road delay and gave me directions for a detour. Why was I so confident of his counsel? I could trust him because he had just passed through there and seen it. In a similar way, the Lord goes before us into the pathway we will walk and stations provisions for our unseen, upcoming dilemmas. Years before Moses came to the bitter waters of Marah, the Lord had already planted a tree to sweeten the waters. Days before Hagar would thirst in the wilderness heat, the Lord had already filled an oasis with cool water. Long before Peter owed a debt of taxes, the Lord already had a fish serving as a purse with a coin in its mouth. Even when we were unaware of our need, the Lord knew we needed a Savior and, “…Christ died for us.” By the time any circumstance of life gets to us, the Lord has already faced it with His presence, provision, and power. Such a thought is how Paul could write in Romans 8:37, “…we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
When the Lord thinks of us He aspires for our nurturing. The third meaning of the word “thinketh” is “to imagine.” The Lord explained this to His prophet in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” How wonderful a thought to know the Lord dreams of us and for us! When an architect rolls out the blueprints, casual observers only see pieces of paper, but he can see a building. When the potter turns the wheel, eyewitnesses only see a lump of clay, but he can see a choice vessel. When an artist puts the first strokes on the canvas, those bypassing only see paint, but he can see a masterpiece. Why is that so? Because most can only see things as they are, but the designer can see it as it will be. The Lord is not only keenly aware of our problems, patterns, and progress, but He is absorbed with our potential. David was tending sheep, but the Lord was dreaming of a king. Gideon was threshing wheat, but the Lord was dreaming of a “mighty man of valor.” Nathaniel was sitting beneath a fig tree, but the Lord was dreaming of a disciple. Like a mother viewing her baby in the crib, our Lord can only see the best of our future!
The Psalmist said it best in Psalm 115:12, “The Lord hath been mindful of us…” There are times when our frail humanity is convinced we have been forgotten, abandoned, and given the short end of the stick. But, always remember this, the Lord only deals off the top when it comes to giving to His children. So, the next time you think the Lord has not given you His absolute best, beware, lest the Lord make you feel like a heel!
Your Most Proud Pastor,
© 2008 Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart: Dr. Alan Stewart has served as Senior Pastor of Rechoboth Baptist since December 1999. He attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Moody Bible Institute, Covington Theological Seminary, and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Prior to pastoring the Tennessee church, Alan was an evangelist for 15 years. He has preached revivals/pastor’s conferences in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. He also preached crusades/conferences in India, Hungary, and conducted a crusade in South Africa in August of 2009. Pastor Alan is married to Jeanne, and they are blessed with two children – Sierra and Seth.