Saturday, May 26, 2012

Everlasting Arms


 "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up."
Psalm 27:10 (KJV)

I love this verse.
It is sustaining me right now.
How wonderful to know that God will never forsake us.
In the best of times, in the worst of times.

He has a special place in His heart for those who are mourning.
When a father and a mother are gone, when their comfort is no longer available, long after their voices of encouragement are heard.....the Lord is there.
He gave me this verse the other day, with the sweet assurance that He will take me up.

What does this mean?'
To be taken up?

As He brought this verse to my mind, He accompanied the words with the most beautiful imagery.

I can see a picture...in my mind's eye, of a little girl with brown eyes and light brown pony tails, pulled high, one on each side of her head.
She is crying.
She is holding her favorite doll, named Marsha.
It's leg is broken, and she has run to her Daddy to fix it.
He stops what he is working on, sweat pouring from his brow, his hands dirty from manual labor.
He reaches down, and with one sweep, he picks up the little crying girl...along with her doll.
He sits down, placing the two of them on his lap.
He pulls the little girl close, in his strong arms, and he begins to wipe away her tears.
"It's going to be okay, honey.
Don't cry.
See, look
Marsha's all better.
I fixed her.
She can walk again."

The little girl's eyes brighten....fill with hope.
She reaches up to kiss her Daddy's face.
Never minding the grime from toils of the day.
"Thank you, Daddy.  I love you."
She runs off to resume her play...with Marsha.
She turns back to look at her Daddy.
He waves and goes back to his work.
Her little heart is comforted.
She feels safe...and loved....and cared for.

I am taken from this all-too-familiar-to-my-heart scene to another.

It's a teenage girl with brown eyes and long brown hair.
She's sitting on the floor...of her parent's bedroom.
It is dark.
She's just returned from a date....with a boy of whom they are not overly fond.
They've lain awake...waiting for her return...their hearts are heavy.

They've called her in...to their room....not to scold....but to talk.

"Cheryl, we just don't think he's the right one for you.
Will you just think about what we are telling you?"

I see her there...in the darkness....a bit rebellious, yet feeling torn, wanting to please them, so unsure of her future...knowing they had lived a lot of years, and maybe she should listen to them...their wisdom...their experience...the concern in their voices.

She does listen.  To their every word.
She's pretty quiet.
She makes no commitment..as to what her life choices will be.

When they're finished, she walks away...to her bedroom...where she quietly kneels by her bed.
Confused, but thankful, that they care so much.
That they are concerned about the choices she makes.

In the end, she decides they are right.
She's kind of known it all along...deep in her heart.
Ultimately, she trusts their better judgment, and she takes their advice and walks away....from the boy.
To wait for the one God has in mind for her.

Just one scene among many where they "took her up" and pointed her feet back to the right path.

From that scene, I am taken to yet another.

This time, it's a young woman with brown eyes and long brown hair, in her early 30's.
She's in the hospital.
In labor.
It's been hours, and the night has been long.
The pains are getting more and more intense...and closer together.
Her sweet mother is there....by her bed.
Praying hard for her...and the baby.
Feeling the pains....of her youngest daughter.

Her Daddy isn't there.
He's gone now....passed off the scene...leaving only memories behind of repaired toys, guidance given, and life moments shared.

But, there's a young another man there, along with her mother...in the room.
It's the baby's father....the man God had in mind for her.....all along.
She's so glad she listened....and waited....for the right one...for her.
He has a kind face....full of concern.
He's praying, too....along with her mother.
The three of them are alone.
But, not for long.

Soon, a tiny head appears, and the midwife says, "Just one more push".
A moment later, a sweet, screaming, red-faced baby boy is placed in her arms.
"Oh, Zachy!" is all she can manage to say.
They've all waited so long....to share this moment.
To know this happiness!
He's finally arrived.
Their joy is full.

The doctor rushes in.
There's been some complications....with the young woman.
The nurse takes the wiggling baby boy from her grasp and hands him to his waiting father.
He takes him up, holds him close, then passes him on to his grandmother, Nana.
She takes him up, holds him, and cries...tears of great joy.

She turns with concern...towards her daughter.

Soon the doctor is finished.
With time, he says....she will heal.
All will be well.

So many scenes....God brought before my eyes.
Seasons of life.
Seasons that Mom and Dad walked through with me.
Held my hand, held my heart, held my feet to the fire.
Kept me going...on the right path.
Lent their support, encouragement, and never-ending love.

This is what it means to be taken up.
They filled that role.
They did that for me.
For as long as they could.
Until the end of their journey came, and they were called away...to their eternal home.
It was not their desire or purpose to forsake me.
They had no choice.
They had to go...at their appointed time.

But, in their absence, in this place of great void, I feel forsaken.
The promise says that when my father and my mother forsake me....
the Lord will take me up.

In my mind's eye, I see one last scene.

It is a middle-aged woman now, with sprinkles of gray mingled in her long brown hair.
She's weeping....like it is coming from the depths of her soul.
I don't see her Mom or her Dad. 
They have passed off the scene....for the very last time.
They cannot comfort, pray for, or guide.
There are no comforting words from them.
No words of guidance...as to what she should do....how she should deal...with this deep grief.
They are at rest...with Jesus.
They feel no pain.

All at once, I see two nail-scarred hands, attached to two strong arms, gently reach down from above and encompass and surround the woman...there on her knees.
The hands, the ones with the scars, brush away her tears...just as quickly as they fall.
He keeps them and places each and every one of them...into a bottle....that is about to overflow.
He speaks kindly to her,
"Everything is going to be okay, child.
I am the Eternal God...the Everlasting Father.
I'll never leave you.
I'm here.
I'm caring for your dear parents.
They are with me....in my arms.
They are safe.
They are together.
You are not alone.
You are not forsaken.
They were there for you...for as long as they could be...for as long as I allowed.
Until I saw they had suffered enough.
Now, my precious child, I am going to take you up."

With these words, He picks her up, off her knees.
His arms are wrapped completely around her.
He holds her close...to His bosom....for a very long time.
As the writhing sobs shake and nearly overtake her, He presses her yet closer.
She clutches to Him...clings tight.
At last, the tension, the trembling...it all ceases.
She stops struggling.
She relaxes....in those arms.
She feels a great calm...and comfort...and peace.
When she is ready, He steadies her....on her feet, and He points her towards the man....with the kind face....the boy's father....from the previous scene.

The baby boy isn't much of a baby anymore. 
He's much bigger now.
Almost as tall she is.
But still in very much need of his Mama.
To be alive.
To be strong.
To go forward.

They are both standing there...the man and the boy....waiting for her.

She rises from the ashes...of despair....of hopeless pain.

Deuteronomy 33:27 (KJV)
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms..."

She has been taken up....drawn close....by everlasting arms.
Arms that will never die.
Arms that will never leave her.
Everlasting arms.....that will hold her and be underneath her from now on....forever.





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