Early this month my daughter Beth and I were asked to speak at a women's retreat at Camp Morrow in Eastern Oregon. I went with fear and trembling, it had been a long time since I'd spoke before an unfamiliar crowd. Would I tangle up my words? Embarrass myself or worst of all embarrass my daughter?
None of these things happened, or if they did it didn't matter to that delightful group of women. What an evening—we laughed together, cried a bit and let our Lord wrap us tight together in His great big arms. The first day and my daughter and I were already experiencing the reality of our Lord's loving kindness.
Later that evening I remembered an illustration I had heard years ago. “I think maybe we could work it into one of tomorrow's sessions” I told my daughter. And then I told her the story I had never forgotten.
“'Do you know what loving-kindness is?' a Sunday school teacher asked her class. The room was silent for a moment and then a small boy lifted his hand. 'I know what kindness is,' he said softly. 'If I was hungry and you gave me a piece of bread, why that would be kindness. But,' a big smile slowly spread across his face, 'if you put strawberry jam on it before you gave it to me, why, that would be loving-kindness.'”
At midnight as I walked across to the bath house I looked up. A moon pinned onto the curtain of night reflected onto the lacy edges of clouds scattered across the sky. Stars dipped low, more brilliant here than at home and I could see their glory in the Milky Way as I hadn't seen in a long time. “Lord,” I whispered, “You're bringing out the strawberry jam aren't You?”
Deep within my spirit I heard His Word. "Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving kindness I have drawn you and have continued My faithfulness to you." (Jeremiah 31:3)