That moment when a mom or dad hold their baby for the first time. Most of you can picture it in your head; a mom with tears running down her cheeks and a smile on her face or a dad with basically the same expression. It is a beautiful thing to think of a life just beginning, but there are some things a little harder to picture; like when a mom or dad never get to hold their baby, or they only ever get to hold their baby once. At a pregnancy crisis care center banquet I attended, the speaker showed one such picture, and we were all asked to guess what it was a picture of. I knew immediately that the little baby in their arms was not alive, and that the tears of those parents were not synonymous with joy, but with a desire for what can never be.
The picture was hard to look at, and I cannot relate to the pain those parents went through and continue to go through. There are so many parents who will never get to hold their child, or see them face to face. Yet, even parents with empty arms can be filled with hope, because they have faith in Jesus; that He is holding their precious baby for them. This is the comfort of the Gospel; that Jesus Christ holds all of us, no matter how small or big, no matter how innocent or corrupt, no matter how broken, and no matter if we feel worthy of His touch or not.
Some parents, when they hold their baby for the first time, may say something like, “Please, God, don’t let me mess this up,” but our Creator looks at us and says, “I gave My life up for you, so that you might have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) Jesus does not, nor will He ever, mess anything up. He came to heal, correct, and preach truth to the lost, dying, and deceived. And to this day, He prays for His children; not that they would be taken out of this messy world, but that they would be kept from the evil one. (John 17)
In the context of eternity, we are all babies: defenseless, helpless, and so easily broken. But our Father came in when we were at our weakest and told us that we need to be born again, then He provided the way of deliverance through His blood, and now He holds us with such tender love and care that it is enough to bring tears to the eyes of the most hardhearted. Yet, not every soul is delivered into eternal life in the arms of the Savior.
So many people have died without being born again. They were grown up in the ways of darkness, yet they were children to understanding and grace. (1 Corinthians 14:20) They heard the call to be born again, but they thought it was more comfortable in the dark, and they didn’t want to wake up. (John 3:19) Now, they are awake, never to rest again.
Though, up to this point, you may have thought all of this was metaphorical, yet the message is far from that. The reality is that Yahweh is our Father and He comes expecting a child to be born, but He too-often finds that the child refuses to come into the light. (Hosea 13:13) Open arms are waiting and a great many promises, yet some children refuse to be held. They say things like, “Me do by myself! I don’t need You! I can’t see You! I am God!”
Yet, for all their screams, for all their reluctance, they have no idea their Savior holds them, drawing them in with cords of love. But even as He holds them, they waste away, because they refuse to eat food from His table and rest in Him. God watches so many people die in His arms, and they cannot say they were not held by Him… But Jesus could say that He was not held by His Father. When Jesus was dying, He cried out to His Father, “Why have You forsaken me!” There was no answer, Jesus was truly alone. His Father let Him go.
So, why did God do this? Why did He let go of His Son? Because there were lost sheep that still needed a Shepherd and a Savior; there were still so many people who needed to be held. Only through the Son being crushed could all souls have the hope of salvation. Do not mistake the Heavenly Father; He was not callous toward His Son, but His love extended to the whole world. And Jesus Christ, since He is one with the Father, has that same love for the lost, so He submitted to His Father’s will, died on the cross, and arose in victory.
There is no parent on earth that can relate to the pain the Father felt when His Son was separated from Him, yet that pain was worth it to Him, because it meant that millions of children could be brought into fellowship with Him. Though it saddens our Creator to see the lost die in ignorance, yet the pain at their loss does not break Him or overwhelm Him. God the Father will not forget the 99 that remain in His pasture, resting in His love and eating at His table; nor will He forget the ones still running from grace that have not yet succumbed to eternal separation from Him.
Are you running away from God? Are you refusing to take communion and rest in the arms of your Savior?
Whether you want to admit it or not, Jesus is holding you even now. So, what will you do? Will you hug Him back or will you hit Him, mock Him, and nail Him to a cross? No matter what you decide, know that Jesus willingly gave Himself up for you. He let you do terrible things to Him. Yet, His pain was not the end, because He lives, and His arms are open wide to any soul who desires to be born again. Even though you may feel too far gone, too corrupt, or too lost, yet your Heavenly Father never sees you that way. There is no distance between you and your Savior, but you must decide if you will rest in His arms and find life in that closeness or waste away and die in His arms.
Jesus loves you. He is holding you. I pray you would be eternally changed in that love, and may you find the same hope, grace, and life that so many have found before you.
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