When I became a mother, it was amazing to experience the creation of a human being within my body. Both of my children were completely different as they were being formed within me. With my daughter, I suddenly felt invincible in ways I hadn’t before, barreling down steep hills on my mountain bike in my first and second trimesters with a fearlessness I hadn’t known before. In my pregnancy with my son, I laughed more and felt a laid-back sense of ease that surpassed my already laid-back personality.
Now that my daughter is 8 and my son is 5, these same personality traits continue to exhibit themselves, whether through my daughter sliding down the slide superman style, with arms out, headfirst, as a seventh-month-old, and then most recently careening down the ski hill with no fear, or in my son’s belly laugh in almost any situation. Even though I was creating these beings in my body, who they were becoming was already made by something else, someone bigger than me, and I could feel in my very core that I was just simply a canister to house these little humans who were being created within me.
This week’s Sabbath school lesson focusing on God as Creator, Sovereign Ruler, Lawgiver, Judge, and the One who remembers his covenant resonated with me as a parent and also as his child. Although I see the miracle of my own children, not only as they were knit in my womb but also as the growing and incredible little people they are outside of me, I am reminded that the Creator holds them as well as holds me. On the days whenI feel like I am running on empty and every request from my child feels like an invitation to run a triathlon, and everything in my being says I can’t be a parent right now, I am reminded that even though I am not sovereign, I know who the Sovereign One is.
On the days when I watch the news and see the bloodshed of innocents and feel so helpless as I hold my own little children in their blissful innocent minds, asking God where is he in all the injustice, I am reminded that he is still Judge, even if I can’t see the end of the story yet. In fact, Tuesday of this week’s lesson referenced Psalm 98:9 in relation to God as Judge, which states, “For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, and the peoples with equity.”
This word, equity, struck me in particular on Tuesday, the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Equity is a word that some claim is “political,” yet here is the NKJV utilizing such a word—and in reference to how God shows up for his people. Many get the words equity and equality mixed up, even stating that equality is the only correct word to use. But these words are very different, and knowing their difference can help us understand true justice. The image below really helps define the difference between inequality, equality, equity, and the need for justice. If God is coming to treat people with equity (Psalm 98:9), should not his followers do the same?
According to theologian and scholar Robert Alter in his commentary The Book of Psalms, Friday’s reading of Psalm 86:5 references Exodus 34, which tells the story of Moses receiving a new copy of the Covenant after the first set was broken.
Leading up to verse 34:6, God tells Moses to chisel out two stones, like the first set, and get up early to meet him on the mountain. God then tells Moses, “I will write on them the same words that were on the tablets you smashed.” So, in the morning, on the mountain, verse 6 states: “The Lord passed in front of Moses, calling out, ‘Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.”
Reading Exodus 34 in light of Psalm 86:5 unlocks so much hope. “For You, O Master, are good and forgiving, abounding in kindness to all who call to You,” the psalm reads. It reminds us, in our broken humanity, that our Sovereign Creator, Ruler, and Judge is one of compassion and mercy, recreating our broken systems, our broken churches, and our broken hearts, even after we smash them.
I find comfort and hope in the fact that God will continue to create me anew every day, just like he did for my children within my imperfect body. He will continue to be my Judge when I experience injustice, even if I can’t see the end of the story yet. And as I connect my will to his, he invites me into that same story to be his hands and feet, bringing equity and justice to broken systems, bringing his creative power to broken hearts, and ultimately resting at the end of each day knowing that I am leaving the results in his sovereign hands.
Image: Support Is Everything by Ipsita Divedi