The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9
I was three years old. After one of my bath times, I held out my arms to my mother. I wanted her to wrap me up in the towel she was holding. I longed for her to keep me warm and hold me close. I asked in my three year old language. “I want to come and see you.” I waited with arms extended. Time froze. But intimacy was not to be found in our family ~ even though kindness was ever present. I can tell you that they are not one in the same. My mother answered but without moving toward me. “Take a good look! Here I am.” I put my arms down. For how long? Another forty years! I concluded that my experience with God would be identical to my experience with my mother. A heavenly Father would also keep His distance so I better not ask for much.
Four decades later, in my forties, I had a vivid dream that healed my soul. I was a child in a dirty blue dress. I was standing in the middle of a bombed out city like Berlin in WWII. Rubble all around me. It was post-war and I was lost, not knowing where to go or what to do. Way down the street, there was a man kneeling in the dust. He was facing me, down on one knee. Looking at me intently, he opened his arms to me in invitation. It was Jesus. That day, in my dreams, after much deliberation, I ran to the refuge of His embrace. I came with all of the baggage of my past story. Shame, rejection, self-doubt, and disappointment. I came out of hiding. Since that day in my forties, I’ve been internalizing what Jesus is really like. His love is not like any person’s love. It is perfect, divine, healing, and safe.
Take in the beauty of His heart another way. The name of the LORD is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe. Proverbs 18:10
I can be a Christian all of my life and still be shy of God’s love. I dare believe that some of it is true – but in the places I’ve been burned most – I doubt that He can be trusted. Oh, but He can. He’s kneeling. Inviting. Reassuring. And He’s patient. I need not run in any other direction but to the One waiting at a respectful distance.
Thank you for sweeping the girl in the blue dress off her feet. Amen