With Arms Wide Open

One of the memories that I cherish when I think of my son, Nathan, is that when he was a child he trusted me completely.   He would stand at the edge of the pool and I would watch him try to work up enough courage to jump into the pool.  He was just a little boy and he wasn’t too sure about what would happen if he just jumped in the water.  He would look up at me with those big blue eyes and while he was trying to be brave and wanting me to be proud of him, he really just wanted me  to be waiting in the water to catch him with my arms wide open.  

On this day, I jumped in the pool and turned around and said, “Jump, Nathan!” and he did.  No hesitation.   He would blindly jump and trust that I would catch him.  I never missed, I caught him every single time.   His complete trust in me was evident because he never hesitated when it was time to jump.  In his eyes, I was strong enough to catch him.  I was there to protect him and he knew it and he could trust that I wouldn’t let him fall. 

I actually remember the day when Nathan worked up the courage to jump into the pool without me being there to catch him.  I told him how proud I was for his courage and how brave he was.  Truth is,  a little part of me is still sad because that seemingly trivial event was the beginning of his independence.  He was growing up and he no longer needed me to be there to catch him.  These days my 29-year-old son is far  too big for me to catch him anymore.   However, I still miss seeing that trust in his eyes.  I long for him to jump, knowing that I would catch him and never let him fall.

I wonder sometimes if God looks at me the same way I look at my son?  There was a time when my son needed me.  He would not jump unless I was there to catch him.   I think of my Heavenly Father with outstretched arms, lovingly drawing me, telling me to jump.  He would catch me.  He would protect me.   I lived a good portion of my life completely trusting God, knowing that He would catch me.  He would always allow me to fall into His arms and I would take comfort in that.  He never missed.   He caught me every single time.

Then one day something changed.  I got confident in my own abilities.  I no longer looked to God like I once had to catch me.   I start to gain my independence and started to think I could make it on my own courage and with my own abilities.   For a while I convinced myself that I was doing great and I didn’t need anyone or anything.

Then I fell.  I came to the clear understanding that I could not make it on my own.

God, my heavenly Father, was waiting right there with His arms wide open to catch me.  He didn’t miss.

For many reasons, we don’t always have that kind of image of God.   Maybe we think of Him as “the boss” and we tiptoe around Him, afraid to make a mistake and get fired.   Perhaps we see Him as “the big man upstairs” and we are afraid He is going to send a lightening bolt to zap us and punish us for not doing this or that.   Honestly, I think we come up with more reasons why not to fall into God’s arms than why we would.   I wonder if it makes our Father sad because all He really wants is for us to love Him and be near Him.  Most of us have spent years in fear of God instead of in love with Him.  Afraid of just about everything concerning God.  And God knows that.

Aren’t you tired of trying to make it on your own?  Trust in Him.  He is just waiting there with outstretched arms waiting for us to jump and fall into His love and protection.

He will never miss.   He is there with His arms wide open and He will catch you every single time.

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