My two youngest children were the most adorable toddlers. They were fun and funny, adventurous and sweet, but for some reason, if they got hurt while we were out in public, they would freeze. No tears. No scream. Just frozen like statues and rooted to the spot. Often, I would be playing with their older siblings, or chatting with a friend when I would look over and know that something wasn’t right.
I would go to them, ask if they were okay, and scoop them into my arms. Once in the safety of my embrace, my daughter’s tears would flow or my son would show me his bleeding finger, and the healing process could begin.
Once in my care, I could wash the wound, get a bag of ice to numb the pain, apply a bandaid, and administer the all-important momma’s kiss to make everything all better.
I was always glad to know they had been hurt so I could help them, but it troubled me that they wouldn’t come to me quickly, immediately, so that I could offer comfort and healing at the moment of pain.
“Come to me,” Jesus says, “all who are weary and burdened.” (Matthew 11:28)
I think of the past twelve months and wonder who among us isn’t weary of being weary and burdened? Whether we’ve lost a job or a loved one, have lost our minds due to social distancing and the numerous precautions, or are simply facing the trials of life during these maddening times, we are weary and burdened.
Today begins the season of lent, the 40 days of reflection and preparation for Easter–our glorious celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Traditionally, we give something up for Lent to connect with Jesus’ sacrifice and 40 days in the desert. We may give up meat or sugar, social media or tv, gossip or complaining, or (fill-in-the-blank).
While God may be asking you to consider fasting from something this season, I wonder if God’s first concern at times like this is that we come to Him. Make time for Him. Figuratively crawl into His arms of love to allow Him to comfort us and give us rest from our weariness.
My children had their reasons for not coming to me when they were hurt—maybe some social anxiety or fear that they’d done something wrong, I never really figured it out. But we also have reasons for not coming quickly to the foot of the cross. Maybe shame or pride, insecurity or busyness are the root, but I promise you this, they’re not good reasons. Not good enough to miss out on the love, grace, and goodness that are waiting for us in the arms of our Savior.
Just like with my kids, the healing process doesn’t really begin until we’re enveloped in the arms of our Savior, allowing Him to love and care for us. While our Heavenly Father is ever-present and can get through to us in myriad ways, most often He asks and waits…
Come to me, he says,
with arms open wide.
This Lenten season let’s run into the arms of Jesus. Cast off all that keeps us from Him so that we can experience the rest, freedom, and redemption that He offers so lavishly to His children.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
~Matthew 11:28 (New Living Translation)