The Gentle Caretaker

I went running a few weeks ago, just before sunset.  Despite the golden sun filtering through the trees and the solitary beauty all around me, I felt the subtle weight of disappointment clinging to me.

Five years of chronic illness and two years of struggling to find employment had left me feeling repeatedly defeated and disillusioned.  I began to think that maybe the things that I longed for and had desperately fought for – restored health, purposeful work, and financial security, were too far out of reach. And my most tender dreams, one’s that felt too sacred to even speak aloud, felt wilted and drooping in my hands, like delicate flowers in the hands of a careless child.

As I ran along the quiet streets, my thoughts strayed to David.  After Samuel anointed him as king David returned to his father’s pastures to care for his family’s sheep.  He knew exactly who God had called him to be, but he didn’t rush headlong into his kingship. There was still work to be done. And God used David the boy, and not David the king, to defeat Goliath and the enemies of God’s people.

Even in the heat of battle, David knew his victory would come from the Lord, and not his own strength. The Lord saves not with sword and spear.  For the battle is the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47).

I began to pray as the sun dropped behind the trees. Lord, I can’t carry these dreams with me any longer. I’m tired of striving and afraid of more disappointment.

A quiet voice said I am a gentle caretaker of your hopes and dreams. I will steward them better than you ever could.  Give them to me.

And so in the middle of the street, I cupped my hands near my heart and lifted them to the Lord (and then began laughing out loud at how ridiculous I must seem to my neighbors).  I finished my run unburdened, knowing God was a trustworthy keeper of the deepest desires of my heart.  He was fighting the unseen battle and my deliverance would come from him, not my own fruitless striving, when the time was right.

God has not forgotten your precious dreams, either, even the ones that hurt too much to even think about – salvation for your child who is far from the Lord, reconciliation of the marriage you gave up on long ago, restoration for your broken body, freedom from crippling debt, a partner to do life with, having your own children - whatever it is you’re on the watch for, give it to the Gentle Caretaker and let him do His good and perfect work.

Meredith Mathis