Rest in His Arms
“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ though it is too great to understand fully.” Ephesians 3:18-19
I have the joy of being a grandmother for the first time. My grandchild is a little over five months, a wonderful age, so small and dependent, yet she is giggly and full of sweet smiles, wanting to explore. Even now, she attempts to “jump” down from grandma’s arms and find out what’s available around her, pushing hard with her tiny legs. But she is still very little, so life is basically a round of bottles, naps, and diaper changes; then we repeat! Twice a week she comes to spend a few hours after lunch with me until her parents come home from work.
I have noticed something as I’ve begun to learn her “signals.” When she starts to get sleepy after her latest bottle, she’ll struggle to let go and rest. She will begin to settle down in my arms and her eyelids will droop, but then she cries out, wrestles in my arms, burrows her face into my chest and spits out her pacifier, fighting the whole process. I put the pacifier back in her mouth, she settles for a moment and then begins to rear up and wriggle and fight relaxing, crying out all the while. This whole process can take several minutes and much grandma arm strength!! But, as she fights relaxing, I don’t find myself impatient with her. On the contrary, my heart is moved with tenderness and I quietly soothe her with my voice and caress her with my hands until she calms down. When finally she allows herself to sleep, my love pours out even more as I see the sweet curves of her tiny face; as her little fingers wrap around one of my large ones. She’s not doing anything to gain this love. I simply love her because I love her.
God spoke to my heart the other day, “Can you see how I feel about you from this picture of yourself with this child? You wrestle and fret and doubt at so many points…struggling in my arms, not believing that I can perfectly hold you and care for you…wondering if my love really does endure forever, but it does. How can you think I would ever give you up? Your love for your grandchild is but a human reflection of my more perfect love for you. Rest in Me. Truly trust Me. Be still and wait on Me.”
Now, perhaps you perfectly trust God at every moment no matter what is going on, but my hunch is that like me and probably all of us, there are times when circumstances are so difficult, you wonder if God can still be there, and if He is, does He care? Or perhaps you feel you have failed Him – your sin is far too great – or you have not done enough to please Him. Maybe in your life, you’ve had so many come and go who you thought you could trust, but they’ve let you down, left you lonely. “How could God be different than others who have abandoned me?” you wonder with sadness. It is natural, in this flesh, to have our moments of fretting rather than resting in God’s arms. But, so much in scripture helps to calm those fears and heal our troubled hearts:
“Jerusalem says, ‘The Lord has deserted us; the Lord has forgotten us.’ Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!” Isaiah 49:14-15
“Can anything ever separate us from the love of Christ? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble…No!…I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.”Romans 8:35
Read the promises in His Word. They are steady. Emotions are not. Rest in His arms and believe that He loves you with a love that is beyond your understanding and without end.
God’s Got You
“No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you.” Joshua 1:5 (NLT)
I stood waist deep in water, my arms open wide. “Come on, buddy. You can do this.”
He edged closer and peered in, then backed away. After several steps back and forth, Luke finally sat on the edge and dipped his toes in the water. I slipped next to him, scooped him up and held him close.
Into the water we went. “I got you, buddy. I got you,” I whispered.
He could have fought me, but he trusted instead. Over the next two hours, Luke gained courage to go farther and farther. Any time he felt frightened, he whispered under his breath, “I got you, buddy. I got you.” It was his assurance that no matter how scary it felt, he was not alone.
Sometimes knowing we aren’t alone gives us the courage to press on. It’s what Joshua needed when he was thrust overnight into leadership after the death of Moses. Up until that time, Joshua had served as assistant. But in his new role, Joshua led the nation of Israel, conquering the land God had promised and leading three separate conquests.
While the Bible doesn’t detail all of Joshua’s emotions during this time, we read of numerous instances where God encouraged Joshua to be “strong and courageous.” God must have known Joshua needed some reassurance.
Perhaps Joshua had doubts. Perhaps his confidence waned. Maybe he even asked questions like, God, are You sure? Shouldn’t You choose someone more qualified?
God didn’t dismiss Joshua’s fears or shame him for having them. Instead He spoke clearly to Joshua, saying, “… I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you” (Joshua 1:5b).
I got you, buddy. I got you.
History shows that Joshua took steps of faith and served as a powerful, humble leader, trusting God through war, human frailty and victory.
Maybe God has been asking you to take a leap into deeper faith, or to serve beyond what you think you are capable. He’s asked you to lead. To love like Jesus.
Perhaps you’ve come close, but backed away. Maybe you even dipped your toes in, reasoning that was enough.
Questions linger. What does God see in me that I might not see yet? What if I fail? What if it’s too hard or no one is on board with me? What if I don’t recognize God’s help and miss my opportunity?
God is aware of your fears. And He whispers the same encouragement to you that He spoke to Joshua. He’s got you.
Not too long ago, I stood in the pool again. Luke wore his floaties. He had on his swim diaper. His cute goggles made him look like a little frog. I held open my arms, and my little guy jumped with glee into my arms.
And this time, I didn’t have to say it, because he knew it. It was ingrained on his heart.
I got you, buddy. I got you.
Dear Jesus, I’ve stood right on the edge, waiting for You to choose someone else, or naming all the reasons I’m not equipped. Today I hear Your voice and I take that step, for You are with me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
Streams in the Desert
By: L.B. Cowman
Times have changed, but life’s hard times haven’t
And after the earthquake a fire; and after the fire a sound of gentle stillness” (1 Kings 19:12, RV margin.)
A soul, who made rapid progress in her understanding of the Lord, was once asked the secret of her easy advancement. She replied tersely, “Mind the checks.”
And the reason that many of us do not know and better understand Him is, we do not give heed to His gentle checks, His delicate restraints and constraints. His is a still, small voice. A still voice can hardly be heard. It must be felt. A steady, gentle pressure upon the heart and mind like the touch of a morning zephyr to your face. A small voice, quietly, almost timidly spoken in your heart, but if heeded growing noiselessly clearer to your inner ear.
His voice is for the ear of love, and love is intent upon hearing even faintest whispers. There comes a time also when love ceases to speak if not responded to, or believed in. He is love, and if you would know Him and His voice, give constant ear to His gentle touches. In conversation, when about to utter some word, give heed to that gentle voice, mind the check and refrain from speech.
When about to pursue some course that seems all clear and right and there comes quietly to your spirit a suggestion that has in it the force almost of a conviction, give heed, even if changed plans seem highest folly from standpoint of human wisdom.
Learn also to wait on God for the unfolding of His will. Let God form your plans about everything in your mind and heart and then let Him execute them. Do not possess any wisdom of your own. For many times His execution will seem so contradictory to the plan He gave. He will seem to work against Himself. Simply listen, obey and trust God even when it seems highest folly so to do. He will in the end make “all things work together,” but so many times in the first appearance of the outworking of His plans,
“In His own world He is content
To play a losing game.”
So if you would know His voice, never consider results or possible effects. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark. He Himself will be gloriously light in you. And there will spring up rapidly in your heart an acquaintanceship and a fellowship with God which will be overpowering in itself to hold you and Him together, even in severest testings and under most terrible pressures.
–Way of Faith