In the middle of the loneliness of grief and loss, are you aware of GOD’s embrace? Sometimes it can be difficult. It takes faith to believe what GOD has told us. But it is true! His desire for us is to transform us, making us more like Him. However, the way we grow that way is often through difficulty. It’s through times when we need to lean on Jesus…hard!
Granted, GOD embraces us all the time. He promises that He holds each of His children in His arms. Nothing and no one can snatch us from His hand.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish,
and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me,
is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
I and the Father are one.”
John 10:27-30 ESV
This truth is very encouraging. It reminds us that GOD is more powerful than any other power on earth! He can keep His children safe from the powers of evil. We don’t have to fear the powers of darkness in the sense that GOD is weaker than they are.
Another aspect of GOD’s embrace has to do with His love for us. Does He truly love us?
But another aspect of GOD’s embrace has to do with His love for us. Does He truly love us? Over and over again throughout the Bible, we see the repeated themes of His love for us shown. It starts in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve together broke GOD’s first command to them: Do not eat of this one tree. You can eat of every other thing in the whole Garden. Enjoy it all. But this one try is not allowed. The day you eat from it, you will die spiritually.
And the minute they listened to Satan in the form of a serpent as He twisted GOD’s words, they disobeyed and spiritually died. All of Creation was affected by the Curse. Once GOD found them from their hiding place, what was His response?
- He provided a more adequate covering for their nakedness than the leaves they tried to use. (The skin of an animal.)
- He provided a blood sacrifice that they didn’t know they needed for their sin…to atone for it.
- He fellowshipped with them again. It was never as good as it had been, partly due to their shame, but GOD didn’t leave them to their own devices. He talked to them!
- He protected them by sending them out of the Garden. This is something I only recently heard, but I have checked a few sources. It isn’t some obscure belief. I will quote the Scripture it comes from below. GOD sent them from the Garden to protect them from eating from the Tree of Life. It was a tree that provided eternal life to the person who ate from it. The problem for Adam and Eve if they had eaten from this tree after eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is that they would have been stuck in their sinful state forever with no opportunity for salvation.
Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil.
Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”
therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.
He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and
a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
Genesis 3:22-24 ESV`
So much that appeared to be punishment for Adam and Eve was also grace to them.
So we see how GOD showed His love to Adam, Eve and mankind in general, by giving us grace (undeserved favor) both at the very beginning as well as many times during the years He led His people Israel through the desert; during the years of leading His people as over and over they rebelled and disobeyed Him. He often had to punish them. But in the middle of His punishment, He showed grace too. He didn’t allow their shoes to wear out, for example. He provided food for them in the form of manna and occasionally meat. He provided a way for them to be right with God through the sacrificial system that pointed to the permanent provision He would one cay provide for them.
Finally, one night in Bethlehem, He sent His Son Jesus, GOD in human form, to earth. During Jesus’ 33 years here on earth, He lived a perfect life. He ministered to the people of that day in a variety of ways until one day, He was killed on a cross. It was not an accident. It had been planned from before the world was even created. Jesus, the Son, took on Himself all the wrath of GOD the Father needed to pour out on the One who would sacrifice, to pay the price for sin. We don’t often think of it. But it was brutal. It was an eternal punishment for an eternal number of people. Only a perfect GOD-man could take on that job. It was horrible. At the end of those few hours, darkness fell on the earth and Jesus gave up his body to die.
If that wasn’t love for us, I don’t know anything else that we could call love. It was way worse than labor…which for most of us is pretty miserable. So now, He is in heaven getting ready for us to join Him. But that is hardly all that He is doing!
He is working in each of our lives to grow us into the people He wants us to be here on earth. As we walk through loneliness, grief, loss, difficulty, joy, and the gamut of human experience, He is with us, embracing us as we walk the path He has set for us to walk.
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and
so prove to be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.
Abide in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and
abide in his love.
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another
as I have loved you.
Greater love has no one than this,
that someone lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:8-13 ESV