The Strong Arms of Jesus

There is a kind of “love/hate” relationship between us and the future. We want to know and yet we fear to know. If there are happy things out there beyond today, that’s all good. If the future is not so happy, well, perhaps by knowing now we can somehow be better prepared when our future becomes our present. On the other hand, part of us is reluctant to add to tomorrow’s burdens to those of today, though we often do it anyway.

The Lord knew. The future was no surprise to Him. And while the burden of knowing didn’t cause Him anxiety, it did cause Him pain. In Luke 13:34, 35 we find recorded these words: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who would kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’

We know what Jesus was referring to when He said these words. He had come to God’s people with the message of redemption and that message, along with its messenger, was rejected. There would be, and continue to be, consequences arising from that rejection.

But I got to thinking about the verse more personally this morning. I picture the Lord saying those words to me: "Lynda, Lynda, how often I have longed to gather you, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!"

How often have I refused to seek refuge in Him? How often, like Israel, have I rejected the very One who can provide exactly what I need. He comes, like that mother hen, with strong arms to support and protect, and I choose my own weakness and rely on my own inability?

The warning for Jerusalem was clear—desolation. Jesus knew what would happen because His people had chosen to go their own way. It gave Him pain but the sentence would have to be served regardless.

When I refuse the shelter Christ offers me, what desolation of soul becomes my lot? The anxiety and fear cannot be totally eliminated not matter how hard I try. The sense of being alone remains no matter how many friends gather around. But the willingness to run to my Refuge, to rest within the strong arms of Jesus, releases me from all of those things. He is not only beside me, but around me.

God’s people missed that for the most part. Jerusalem missed that for the most part. They were unwilling. Jesus felt the pain, knowing that at some point they would wish they had made different, better, choices.On a personal level, I am reminded that the choice is mine. He wills me within the safe haven of His arms, but do I will it? My refusal brings Him pain, but will not change the consequences of my poor choices.

As I read these verses, I could feel the Lord’s heart. “Come to me and I will protect you, support you, encourage you, comfort you—just come!”

And, there, within the strong arms of Jesus, is perfect peace and rest.

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