Love’s Outstretched Arms
Life is full of surprises. As I’ve continued walking on this path of a pandemic life, God is placing incredible moments of joy in the midst of my isolation. In those moments, I find He is opening my eyes to areas where I’ve forgotten what it is like to live life fully connected to Jesus.
On a beautiful warm late summer morning, my daughter in law and granddaughter came over to spend the day with me. I was filled with excitement and anticipation at the opportunity to enjoy the day together. As my granddaughter Eevy was getting out of the van, I came around the corner and excitedly called her name. She turned with a look of pure joy on her face and ran, arms outstretched towards me, eager to receive my embrace and be gathered in my arms.
Instantly my eyes were opened to God’s desire for us to run towards Him with abandon. Our arms outstretched to receive His loving embrace and be gathered in His arms. I can imagine His heart overflowing with love, excitement and joy as He sees us running towards Him with abandon.
A simple act of gathering with those I love in the midst of this pandemic opened my eyes to a truth I’d pushed to the back of my mind – God is always there, eagerly waiting for us to turn and run to Him with abandon, His loving arms outstretched and ready to embrace us. His desire it for us to run to Him in the good times and the bad times, in the chaos of daily life, and in the uncertainty of pandemic living, He is waiting to gather us in His arms.
I wonder if I would have missed His reminder had I not been spending daily moments in prayer and reading my bible. Would my heart have been soft enough to receive His message of love or would I have missed His loving reminder? I am grateful for my daily time with my heavenly Father and it has helped me to stay focused on what’s important in life. However, I’ll be honest, some days distractions get the better of me and I find I haven’t spent a single moment in His presence, and it’s on those days I am more prone to anxiety and frustration.
God often reminds us of truths about Himself when we read His words, but sometimes, He uses people and/or circumstances to remind us and draw us back to Himself for new and deeper connection. In my case it was the sheer joy and abandon of my granddaughter Eevy running towards my open arms.
Pandemic life can either draw us closer to our loving Father or move us backward, our faith can stall in this season. Finding a life rhythm to draw closer to God when so much of what we are hearing around us is dismal predictions can prove challenging. I’ve had to put a few boundaries in place concerning what I allow into my heart and mind – less social media and television, and more conversations with friends and family. I needed to stop watching so much news coverage and instead prioritize time in prayer and in Gods word. And finally, I needed to evaluate what types of gatherings I was comfortable engaging.
I’m grateful I put some practices in place to help me stay focused and make time to draw near to God. I’ve found a greater sense of peace and joy in my life and I find it easier to express grace to those around me. I feel more connected with people in my circle of family and friends, and when I envision the look of joy on my heavenly Father’s face as I turn to Him with eager anticipation of the time we spend together, my heart is full.