Arms of Love
How do you see God? Almost 90 percent of people believe He exists, but most don’t agree on what He’s like.
There was no reason to suspect bad news when my uncle appeared at the door on January 6th, 1970. But as he walked with my mother to the living room, an invisible cushion of support came around me and a clear impression that “something’s coming, but it’s going to be all right.” Within minutes, my siblings and I would learn that our father had died suddenly of a heart attack while skiing on the very slopes where actress Natasha Richardson had a fatal fall this spring – Mount Tremblant in Quebec. At age 47, Dad was gone, leaving six children and a 39-year-old widow “like sheep without a shepherd.”1
Moira, as an infant, in her father’s loving arms.
It would be many years before I realized that the supernatural comfort and strength I experienced during those tumultuous days was the provision of my heavenly Father. Deuteronomy 33:27 was a thrilling discovery, identifying my mysterious “cushion”: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms….” Those arms of love have guarded and guided me ever since.
How do you see God? So many testimonies reveal an incorrect mental model or false image of God in the lives of people who have sometimes been serving Him for years! A study out of Baylor University found that Americans actually believe in one of four different gods. Although 85 to 90 percent believe He exists, apparently “they do not agree on what God is like.” The study gave each “god” a name reflecting the dominant characteristics cited: Authoritarian, Benevolent, Distant and The Critical God.
It’s important to realize that a loving heavenly Father may permit a demolition in order for a new construction to take place! Book titles such as If God Disappears and When God Lets You Down recount the authors’ “loss of faith” in times of trial.
Moira (child standing) enjoying play time with her father.
Usually an unaffirming experience with their earthly father has distorted their view of God. Wondrously, what emerges from the crucible is a rich understanding of what it means to be “accepted in the Beloved.”2 Striving for perfection and performance is replaced by a vibrant, liberated intimate love relationship with their eternal Father through His Son Jesus Christ. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me….’”3
God has used nearly every relationship of personal commitment we know to reveal Himself to us: Husband (see Jeremiah 31:32), Mother (see Isaiah 49:15), Brother (see Proverbs 18:24), and more. But how we need to find our Father! When Moses sought earnestly for a closer fellowship with God, he appealed to the Lord: “…show me now Your way, that I may know You…. Please, show me Your glory.”4 To this the Lord replied, “Here is a place by Me…. So be ready…and come up in the morning….”5
S. Franklin Logsdon noted that a special relationship was developing between them: “This was in effect a manifestation of parental affection in response to a desiring child. It may be pardonable to paraphrase the Lord’s answer in this manner: ‘Come up on My lap.’ Nor is the suggestion irreverent.”
Moses surely had an Almighty cuddle! He passes on his warm experience in a blessing to the tribe of Benjamin: “Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.”6
The same warm invitation applies to YOU! “The arm of flesh will fail you,”7 as the famous hymn says, but not “the everlasting arms.”8
Whoever you are, whatever your circumstance…a welcoming “Lap” awaits you!
Moira Brown is a highly sought conference speaker and Bible teacher, best known for her role as co-host of the daily 100 Huntley Street TV program.
1) Mark 6:34 NIV
2) Ephesians 1:6
3) Jeremiah 9:23-24 NIV
4) Exodus 33:13,18
5) Exodus 33:21; 34:2
6) Deuteronomy 33:12 NIV
7) Hymn: Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
8) Deuteronomy 33:27
Originally published in Crossroads Compass, June 2009.
Used with permission. Copyright © 2009 Christianity.ca.