HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
Because He Knoweth Our Frame
Now it seems to me that this gentleness of God reveals certain precious things about Him. It reveals, for instance, and is rooted in His perfect understanding of His children. There is a saying with which you are familiar; it is that to know all is to forgive all. That is an apothegm, and like all apothegms, it is not commensurate with the whole truth. Yet as a simple matter of experience, so much of our harshness has its rise in ignorance that such a saying is sure of immortality–to know all is to forgive all. How often you and I, after some judgment, have said to ourselves, If I had only known. Something is told us that we knew nothing about, and instantly there is a revulsion in our hearts. And we retract the judgment that we passed, and we bitterly regret we were unfeeling, and we say we never would have spoken so, had we only known.
The more we know–I speak in a broad way–the more we know, the more gentle we become. The more we understand what human life is, the greater the pity we feel. And I think it is just because our heavenly Father sees right down into our secret heart, that He is so greatly and pitifully gentle. For He knoweth our frame and remembereth we are dust, and He putteth all our tears into His bottle. And there is not a cross we carry and not a thought we think but He is acquainted with it altogether. And all we have inherited by birth, of power or weakness, of longing or of fear–I take it that all that is known to the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.
Our Value in His Sight
And then again God’s gentleness reveals this to us–it reveals our abiding value in His sight. It tells us, as almost nothing else can tell us, that we, His children, are precious in His eyes. There are certain books upon my shelves at home with which I hardly bother to be gentle. I am not upset when I see them tossed about nor when they are handled in a rough way. But there are other books that I could never handle without a certain reverence and care, and I am gentle because they are of value to me. And the noteworthy thing is that these precious volumes are not always the volumes that are most beautifully bound. Some of them are little tattered creatures that a respectable servant longs to light the fire with. But every respectable servant of a book lover comes to learn this at least about his master, that his ways, like those of another Master, are mysterious and past finding out. For that little volume, tattered though it may be, may have memories that make it infinitely precious–memories of school days or of college days, memories of the author who was well known to him. It may be the first Shakespeare that he ever had, or the first Milton that he ever handled, and he shall handle it gently to the end, because to him it is a precious thing. So I take it God is gentle because you and I are precious in His sight. He is infinitely patient with the worst of us because He values the worst of us so dearly. And if you want to know how great that value is, then read this text again and again: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish.”