12th May 2014

Like a Mother’s Comforting Arms 

“I picked them up and held them to my cheek…”
Hosea 11:4 (GNB)
 

Cuddling our children and our grandchildren is one of life’s greatest pleasures and it is also vitally important for the little ones. Apparently babies can die through the lack of such expressions of warmth and love. From this we can glimpse something of the care and concern God has for us as his sons and daughters. 

Although God is neither male nor female he sometimes refers to himself as if he were; sometimes he tells us that he is a warrior and other times he acts like a mother. For example, in Isaiah 42:13 (NKJV) it says, “The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; He shall stir up his zeal like a man of war.” Now notice the next verse—he says, “I have held my peace a long time, I have been still and restrained myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labour, I will pant and gasp at once.” (Verse 14). Does this make God male or female? Of course not, even though he is expressing himself in differing human emotions! Notice also Hosea 11:1, 3-4, “When Israel was a child, I loved him and called him out of Egypt as my son…Yet I was the one who taught Israel to walk. I took my people up in my arms, but they did not acknowledge that I took care of them. I drew them to me with affection and love. I picked them up and held them to my cheek; I bent down and fed them.” These scriptures open up a window into the very heart of God and reveal a love that never gives up, a love that never fails or grows cold; this is a fiercely burning love that surrounds God’s children. 

This picture is full of contrasts. When the loving Father teaches his son to walk, he has to let go of him, so that he can take his first precarious steps and risk falling over. But his presence is always there and he is ever vigilant, ready to catch his son if he stumbles.  God allows us to be free but still holds us in his tender care. Then we see the Father lifting his little one up in his arms and drawing him affectionately to his cheek—what a beautiful picture! 

But there is a mixture of joy and pain here in God himself.  Joy as he delights in his son, but also anguish as his son does not respond to his love. (Verse 3). It seems like God enjoys cuddling his children, but we too must learn to express our joy and delight as we experience his presence in our lives each time he draws close to cuddle us! 

Prayer
Our tender Father, thank you so very much for your amazing love, a love that continually watches over us, and for your eager hands that are always there to catch us if we fall. Hold us close today and fill us with your joy.
Amen
 

Study by Cliff Neill

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cliffneillAbout the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local  Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill
LUTON
LU1 5JE

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone:  01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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