The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Psalm 23

Recently I was praying for a grieving mom I know of, whose son had suffered terrible injuries in a car accident. I thought, as a mommy myself, how would I feel, in her situation? If my son or my daughter were playing one minute and laying in a hospital bed the next, would I cry my soul out too? I can’t begin to imagine the depth of her pain or the fear that she must have been feeling. My heart ached for hers, deeply. I prayed as hard as I could, knowing she was struggling to make sense of it all, to give it to God and let Him have her fear, to let Him have her son.

Then, I got a flashback of a time when I was teaching in special education. Holding one of my students as he flailed in my arms, I was humming ‘Jesus Loves Me’, as I rocked him back and forth, back and forth. I told him that I was there, that I was holding him to protect him and that he was ok. He heard me, but still he fought to get away. It didn’t matter what I did to show him I cared, he still fought to complete exhaustion. He was afraid.

I never understood that. Why couldn’t he hear my words of comfort? Why didn’t he feel my arms around him, keeping him safe? Couldn’t he hear my soothing song? Then I realized something. I began to feel again, the times in my life when I have heard these same questions from my God, as I railed against his loving arms, as I fought and cried and screamed in his embrace:

“Can you hear my words of comfort? I will never stop telling you how much I love you. Can you feel my arms around you? I will never leave you or forsake you. Do you hear my soothing song? I sing it just for you. Please don’t fight my heart, my child. Rest in my strong hands. I want to take those broken pieces. I promise, I will fix them, because I love you. I know your fear. I know your pain. If you stop fighting, and give it to me, I can heal you. It’s time to rest. Rest in my arms. You are safe.”

And I am. When I am in His arms, I am in the safest place I can ever be. Even when life flashes around me and my fear is the only thing I can see, He is there. When I am in my darkest valley, it’s His arms, His promise that keeps me safe. All I have to do is hold onto Him and not let go. Just don’t let go.

Christi Brown, http://www.facebook.com/ChristiArmstrong.page

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