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One-a-Day...for the Heart: The Arms of Jesus

When I am discouraged and I feel all alone, I will run to the arms of Jesus, for therein lies my home. These are lyrics from a song I wrote many years ago, and my children (now adults) sang it in church.

Sometimes, the only place to find comfort is in our Great Shepherd's arms. When we are in valleys or treacherous places in our lives, Jesus' arms are outstretched to pick us up and carry us through darkness, loneliness, and despair.

     Growing up, my sisters and I had a phrase that we still use to describe certain people. We always categorized teachers who were warm, personable, accepting, and comforting as “hug-around-the-waisters.” These teachers were contrary to the teachers we were afraid of, who had cold or harsh personalities. The phrase has carried over into our adult lives, and when one of us says that someone is a “hug-around-the-waister,” we immediately know what kind of person they are.

     He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young (Isaiah 40:11 NLT). The Lord is our Great Shepherd. The word most commonly used in the Bible for “shepherd” comes from the Hebrew word ra‘ah, meaning “best friend.” Another term for a shepherd, ro‘eh tzon, also means “lover of the flock.”

     A shepherd was not just a responsible overseer but a watchman over the sheep, and he fiercely protected them. David reminds us in Psalm 121 that my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber…The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life. We will probably never realize how often our Great Shepherd has protected us until we talk to Him in heaven. And when unthinkable atrocities occur in our sin-filled world, or a personal crisis of death, illness, or calamity occurs, the most trustworthy source of comfort and solace is to run to the arms of Jesus.

     Jesus is not just a shepherd but the ultimate “hug-around-the-waister.” His great love and tenderness toward us are not just words but a tangible presence in times of deep sorrow, despair, or fear. His supernatural presence can be felt as we pour out our hearts to Him and call on the One who is our “refuge and strength, an ever present help in times of trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

Despite our age or circumstances, the Lord's arms are always open to catch, comfort, hold, or carry us. They are a constant reminder of His unconditional love and care. Isaiah writes, Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He. I am He who will sustain you. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will sustain you, and I will rescue you (Isaiah 46:4).

When my legs were weakened from multiple sclerosis, there were days when they wouldn't support me. It was a relief when my husband would pick me up and carry me to a comfortable place on the couch or chair. Similarly, when life is overwhelming, and we cannot stand alone, Jesus will pick us up and carry us, no matter how often we need Him.

     The Passion Translation gives a beautiful description of the arms of the Lord in Psalms 91:4: His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you. You can run under His covering of majesty and hide. His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm. Whatever you are facing today, don't hesitate to pour out your heart in prayer and run to the arms of Jesus!

© 2024, Chris Custer Werre    


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