I look over my adventures with the Lord and see the different chapters with the different word titles...Enough, Wait, Secure, Hope, Abide, Trust, Humble, Let Go...
This chapter: Embrace.
Embrace: Hold closely in ones arms; accept; support willingly and enthusiastically; encircle; surround; enclose.
Over and over this word has appeared in devotionals, sermons and the Word. We are commanded to embrace.
He calls us into the hard places. Isn't the goal of good parents to push...isn't their plan always grounded in the roots that they want the best. Plans for children to grow, challenging them in broken areas so they can become good. And is not our Heavenly Papa the ultimate good?
"Not my will but Yours be done"...not my plans Father but what are You calling me to embrace?
Hebrews 12 The Message
"Have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children? My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects...He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training...Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live?...God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain...but it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God."
It is hard to embrace when your hands are full.
1 Peter 5:12 The Message
"This is God’s generous truth; embrace it with [both] arms!"
Why do we hold onto things that shouldn't be in our hands...Without surrendering--without letting go--these things keep us from [fully] embracing everything the Lord wants to give us and everything that He is...
Philippians 3:7 The Message
"Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash [so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.] I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ..."
We can learn all the words. We can go over all of the lessons. We can dive into truths. We can turn on God's love song and sing out praises to Him. We can do this...but if we don't learn how to embrace....if we do not learn how to let go of what we are holding onto so we can grab hold and cling...all of the words, truth, and hallelujahs will be temporary...do not just go through actions with hands full.
Life is too short to not live it real. Be true to Your actions. Let God give.
Make the words permanent. We are called to empty so He can fill...
I fail daily. I find myself with hands full. Along the way I pick up complaints, bitterness, disappointing expectations, hurt, anger, comparisons, jealousy, frustration when people are blind to what is right in front of them, selfish desires--I look down and realize I have brought the weight of the world with me.
A friend sends me a truth verse about rejoicing all the time and I want to throw my phone...who has time to rejoice when I've made a mess of my heart and have to solve the world's problems.
We are so unworthy to be called sons and daughters of the King...
but it doesn't stop the embrace.
"It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ..."
Embracing this life as imitators of Christ...embracing is not an option. It is in the gospel...it is a necessary response to this faith life God has called us to live.
Romans 10 The Message
"The word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in your mouth, as close as the heart in your chest. It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us...Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—[embracing], body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right..."
Like most good things in this journey--this is a process. I need to learn to let go of people I'm holding on to, of the plans I think are better, of trying to control. I want to embrace. I want to run to my Heavenly Papa with two open arms-emptied so He can be my all-so there is nothing between us. Without intimacy this relationship with the Lord is not all that it is supposed to be.
Let go. Trust. Wait. Hope. Embrace...then maybe I sleep.