Monday, January 11, 2010

Rock-A-Bye Baby

It's 3:30 AM. I gather my crying son into my arms and walk him into the living room while whispering in his ear the phrase I've kind of made my "mommy mantra." "I've got you, Son," I say. "I will always take care of you." I sing hymns to him while he eats, trying to keep myself awake. He finishes one of many mid-night meals and we make our way to the tried and true Babies R Us rocking chair, both blinking slow and hard, trying to stay awake. I pat his back rhythmically in time with the backward and forward motions of the rocker and sing softly in his ear the hymn that's stuck in my head, "Great is Thy Faithfulness". As his eyelids get heavier his body follows suit, and I can feel his head sink into my shoulder.

Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Back and forth.
Pat. Pat. Pat.
Back and forth.
Pat. Pat. Pat.

His body melts onto mine, and together we rock until he is deep in sleep and deep in my arms.

As I sat and whispered the words to that old hymn, trying to remember which lines matched up with which, I finally saw a rich depth and truth that I simply could not have understood until now. I also finally understood my rocking chair...and my patting...and the lullabies.

My son quieted down as soon as he felt the fluid rocking motions, the rhythmic pats on his back, when he heard the soft and constant melody. He felt lulled by the consistency and predictability. He knew that every time we went forward, we would also go back. He knew each pat would be followed by another. He knew to expect the chorus along with the verses. Babies are calmed by reliability, and patterns make them feel safe.

Lamentations 2:22-24 says:
22The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24"The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I have hope in Him."

It is God's constant, reliable, faithful love and compassion that allows us to have a safe and peaceful hope in Him. We are calmed by the knowledge that we can expect mercy every morning. We are soothed by feeling His gentle love carry us back and forth. Knowing that His hand will softly and tenderly be laid on us gives us a security in who He is and what we can trust Him to do.

When I truly dwell on God's persistent love, I quietly melt into His arms of faithfulness and there I rest deeply.

Great is Thy faithfulness, oh God, our Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!