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Fasting Day 17: Back Into the Arms of Our Beloved

Back Into the Arms of Our Beloved

Back Into the Arms of Our Beloved

From Natalie: This is a guest post by Linda Johnson. Linda is the founder and teacher of Sister Circle I.N.C. (In the Name of Christ) ministries where she leads a monthly Bible study. You can read her blog and follow her on Facebook.

A few days ago my husband and I were babysitting a sweet, yet energetic nine month old baby girl. As I was standing in the kitchen, I glanced into the living room and saw my husband trying desperately to hold her in his lap…but she had other plans. She was kicking and whining to get down and crawl on, what to her, seemed like a place full of fun and games. However, as an adult I was thinking differently. I was thinking to myself, “I really need to deep clean that floor because she’s at the age where anything she picks up she puts it in her mouth.”

Then this revelation from God hit me like a ton of bricks: “God that’s us, your children; that’s what we do!”

Seemingly Innocent Excursions

How many times in life have we as Christians, as innocent as it may have seemed at the moment, left the arms of our beloved? We leave for various reasons, but we all return for the same. Many leave His arms to go another set of arms, but these arms are from a human who can only ‘hold’ them so long. Others leave His arms for the arms of a job – a job that at first is rewarding and challenging, but it never seems to last. Some even leave His arms for the arms of this world and its cares. Whatever the reason, however long we leave, or however far we go – we still ‘feel’ the coldness of leaving the warmth of His protective arms!

I often meditate on the parable Jesus shared about the prodigal son in Luke 15 and the fact that there are many parallels in the story. The parallel I want to share is how, like the young, prodigal son, we too go to God asking for blessings and then leave His arms.

When the prodigal son said, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me,” the father did not hesitate or resist the son’s request (Luke 15:12, KJV). The verse goes on to say, “And he divided unto them his living.”

This made me think, “Why in the world would a father just give a young and unlearned child his whole inheritance without any opposition?”

Then I understood exactly why he did. The father had enough wisdom and hindsight to know that it would not take his young and unlearned son long to figure out where he needed to be, who he really was and most importantly, how well his father had indeed cared for him.

A Far Country

If you are familiar with the story, then you know that the son moved away to, what the Kings James version calls, “a far country.” Scripture tells us that in this “far country,” the young and unlearned son “wasted his substance with riotous living” (Luke 15:13). The word ‘riotous’ is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as exuberant, excessive, and extreme. The son left the only home he’d ever known to go far away to live ‘life’…or so he thought.

As the story continues, we see that the son ends up broke (I would say not just financially but also spiritually). He has to take a job feeding pigs. The young and unlearned boy gets so desperate and hungry that even the pigs’ lunch is mouth watering to him (Luke 15:16, NLT). Verses 17-19 explain how the young son came to himself and realized that even those working for his father were better off than he was at the moment.

Throwing A Party

The young son then decided to return home to his father, humbly, seeking forgiveness – willing to even give up his title as son and become a servant to his father. When he returned home, to his surprise, he found a father who ran to him.

I love how scripture describes this scene. The father was “filled with love and compassion…He ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20, NLT). The son who felt so shameful and guilty by his past and his decisions couldn’t see that his father was joyful at his return. He began to tell his father how unworthy he was—how he couldn’t even be called his son—but the father didn’t reply to that. Instead, the father started planning a party!

He Is Waiting…Longing

Did you know that when we come back home to the arms of our beloved heavenly Father, all of heaven rejoices? Just like the father in this parable, your heavenly Father is waiting, longing, desiring for you to come back home to be embraced by his loving, caring arms! He is not as concerned about where you have been, what you have done, or how long you have been gone as He is about holding you again!

During our times of fasting and prayer we have some of the sweetest moments with Him; but we can have these moments in everyday life if we stay in His arms!

Personally Speaking

I know personally, June 30, 2009 was a day I chose to stay in His arms! I was a Christian, twenty-five years old, freshly graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a masters degree in social work, ready to work and live life – yet stopped by fatal congestive heart-failure!

I remember that day—lying on the emergency room stretcher, tears rolling down my face, lost for words—that the Lord gently spoke to my heart. I remember Him telling me that I had to stay with Him and fight…or give up and die! Talk about easy decisions. I chose, “ stay with Him, fight and live!” not knowing how many fears, tears, and times of wanting to get out of His lap I would have. I can say today—almost three years later—that I still rest in His arms and the finished work of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Have I had moments of despair, confusion, depression, anger or loneliness? Why yes, I most certainly have. However, during those times, I just closed my eyes and held on to His hand for dear life.

Assurances From God’s Love Letter

Life is tough and it’s not all fair. However, God is a God of justice and He always has a way of evening things out. As Christians, we have His love letter (the Holy Bible), which ensures us that:

1. God can not lie (Num. 23:19)

2. All things turn out good (Rom. 8:28)

3. No weapon shall prosper against us (Isa. 54:17)

4. Christ enables us to do all things (Phil. 4:13)

5. We are more than conquerors through Christ (Rom. 8:37)

In closing, I want to encourage you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, to stay in the arms of our Savior. If you have left His arms, simply return! If you have never rested in His arms, accept His love and let Him hold you. Know in your heart that you are never so far that His outstretched arms cannot and will not reach you!

“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.” Deuteronomy 33:12

Worship: “My Beloved”

My Beloved by Christ for the Nations Music
Led by Kari Jobe
From the album: Overtaken [Affiliate Links]

Bible Reading: Luke 15:11-32

Prayer Focus: Have you wandered from the loving embrace of your heavenly Father? He is waiting with open arms, ready to rejoice upon your return!

FROM THE FASTING ARCHIVES:

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