DOES GOD PUT HIS ARMS DOWN?
But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people. Romans 10:20
Consider what it’s like to run into someone you haven’t seen in a while. You’re excited; you call out their name, and then move swiftly toward them. You’re not aware there’s a problem between you so you quickly extend your arms to invite a warm embrace. But to your shock, the other person freezes and stands there. There is an awkward moment when your arms are still extended but the hug is definitely being refused. How long will you hold your arms out in front of you? Five seconds max, most likely. The rebuff stings and we tend to remember these moments of rejection for a long, long time.
It’s one thing to be rejected by someone shy and cautious. We’re willing to give them time to warm up. But quite another to be turned down by one hostile to you. It can be embarrassing to wear your heart on your sleeve, to look anxious or even desperate for them to return your affection. Hostility brings an ungodly response. We want to run the other way and do everything we can to avoid that person.
God does not act that way. He loves. Period. His love never cools. No matter how long it takes, He woos those who want Him and those who don’t. He keeps His arms out. Not just for a day, but throughout the ages His arms stay extended. He is patient, gracious, vulnerable, and chooses to proclaim His love even with the risk of it never being returned. He does not hide from His enemies but pursues them. He is not defensive, playing it safe until they warm up. No, His arms reach out in spite of possible rejection.
Good news for any believer who is unjustly angry with God and has been away from Him for a while. Perhaps they’re too afraid to come home. If only they knew that God’s arms have been extended from the moment they left. This is also good news for the most hardened unbeliever. No matter how badly they’ve sinned, God is searching the horizon for the first sign of their heart turning. Who loves like that? Only One!
You are a God like none other. Keep reminding me that no one loves me like You. When I’m tempted to love someone or something more than You, remind me of Your open arms when I didn’t deserve it. Amen