12 Sep Embraced By Love
I almost stop breathing when I see this photo. It’s as if I don’t want to wake them.
I imagine myself tiptoeing backwards and quietly shutting the door. Slowly turning the handle, so it doesn’t click shut.
It’s a scene of raw tenderness.
I know the subjects, my son and his precious daughter. But when I see it, I think of my Father. His word tells me this is the kind of love He has for me.
Protective, tender, and proud.
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Generous and faithful.
But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)
As loyal and protective as a mama with her baby.
Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.
Behold, I have engraved [tattooed] you on the palms of my hands;
your walls [of protection] are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:15-16)
Despite these affirmations, the picture of my Heavenly Father that I carry in my head doesn’t always look like this kind of love.
Sometimes the wheel rut of my unbelief tells me He is stern, demanding, even distant. Scrutinizing and judging. Just waiting for me to mess up. And I’m afraid to look Him in the eye, much less relax in His embrace.
I have to remind my head and heart of who He really is almost daily, making my beliefs about God come into line with Truth.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God,
and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5)
And just in case I’m struggling to heave my mind out of the rut, He offers proof of His love.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—
by grace you have been saved— (Ephesians 2:4-5)
But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners,
Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Those bold phrases even when we were dead in our trespasses and while we were still sinners are solid evidence of the love God has for us!
We didn’t earn His love! He gives it to us because it’s who He is (1 John 4:8).
In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
Author Jerry Bridges writes this: “God’s unfailing love for us is an objective fact affirmed over and over in the Scriptures. It is true whether we believe it or not. Our doubts do not destroy God’s love, nor does our faith create it. It originates in the very nature of God, who is love, and it flows to us through our union with His beloved Son.”
So that photo and the kind of love it displays, it’s true . . . you are embraced by love.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God;
and so we are. (1 John 3:1)
Here’s a practical application of this week’s focus.
I know you might struggle to believe this just like I do some days. But our Father hasn’t left us on our own there either. He’s given us the witness of His words and His own Spirit to remind and convince us of these life changing truths. Faith makes belief possible. And having believed, we must choose to trust. What that means is leaning into and relying on God’s truth rather than ourselves or the multitude of other things we’re tempted to trust in.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Do you remember running into the arms of someone you knew loved you when you were small? Someone safe?
That’s your WINSOME LIVING this week: when you’re overwhelmed, weary, or afraid, run into the embrace of your loving Father.
That might look like reading your Bible, His love letter to you. It could be writing a letter to Him in your journal (my favorite way to pray).
Or maybe it’s finding your coziest blanket, wrapping it up tight, and drifting off to sleep in the security of His love.
Every Wednesday, I’m exploring what winsome living looks like. What does it mean to be embraced by love and sustained by joy?
Photo credit: Hilary Hyland Photography
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