Strong and Gentle by Mary Stewart

Psalm 18:1-2 says, “I love you O Lord my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold! I call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised and I am saved from my

This passage has become dear to me at different times in my life. Most recently, in the death of my earthly father. My father was a very strong yet stubborn man. Growing up I saw his soft side too, but overall a hard shell. There was no doubt that he loved me as he said it every time I came to visit in his last years. His love recently reminded me of the rocks, hills, and mountains as described in Psalm 18. I’ll be forever grateful for my earthly father because where he fell short I was led to find my heavenly Father that meets my needs perfectly, he’s always present, is everything my earthly father could never be.

Psalm 121 says, “I look up to the mountains, does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!” Even though I looked for strength and saw it in my dad it, was limited and finite. My ultimate help and strength has come from my heavenly father.
Psalm 18:35 also describes our Heavenly Father as gentle. It says, “You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.” Our heavenly Father is strong and gentle. He is gentle as he doesn’t force himself on us. His hand is supporting me, holding me as a gentle and loving father does.

I remember when I was little and cried out at night afraid of the dark asking to be with my parents where I knew I would be safe. My dad allowed it and gently lifted and carried me. The shadows didn’t seem so bad after that. In this memory I’m reminded of the gentle, loving presence of my heavenly Father that is always with me.
Now that my earthly Father is gone, I miss him but it makes me long to know my heavenly father even better. I am led to understand the gentle yet strong ways God has demonstrated his love for me in my life even going to the length of sending his only son to die for me so I can know him and he can be with me. In my imagination I can picture running to my heavenly father and being scooped up in his arms as he carries me softly, gently, and lovingly. This is your heavenly father too, strong and gentle waiting for you to run to him.