Several years ago, I had the wonderful honor of being present when a friend gave birth to her third child. She had asked me to babysit her older children when she went into labor, but as it turned out, they were safely asleep in my bed when Rick and Rebecca thought it was time to go to the midwife. I had planned on staying home with the children, but they insisted that I go with them. So, my husband remained at home and I became part of a very special event.
I’d never been present at any births besides my own and my two children. This was the first time I was able to observe the whole process. It was amazing. At first, we were light-hearted and joking. But as the night wore on, and the labor pains increased in frequency and strength, the mood shifted and became much more focused and serious. Rebecca was restless and walked around the room between contractions. When one would come, Rick would stand behind her and hold her tightly while each labor pain peaked. She often said, “Hold me, Rick, please hold me.”
He was doing just that. His strong arms were wrapped around her, giving her physical and emotional strength. He didn’t grow tired or weary as time passed. And when the baby finally arrived, Rick was still holding her, cradled in his arms.
I felt so honored to be a part of such an intimate, holy event. As I watched this precious family moment, I was awestruck that this is the way it is for each Christian. We can say, as our Heavenly Father cradles us, “Please be near me, I need your love.” God is always there. He never leaves us or forsakes us. We know that from the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. Look it up with me. You are in the process of obeying this commandment as you have chosen to go and make disciples. While you are teaching people to observe all the Lord commanded you, what has He promised? His presence will always be with us. What does it mean to you today that He says, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age”?
Turn in your Bible to Romans 8. This is a wonderful chapter that deserves your study, but for our purposes today, look at verses 28-39. When we are lonely, when we are hurting, afraid or overwhelmed, we can know that God is working in our lives to conform us to the image of Jesus. That is wonderful, but sometimes the process hurts and we want to say, “God, please hold me.” The next verses assure us He is doing just that. He is on our side, He is giving us all we need, and He is with us. God is not willing that anything, no matter what our present circumstances may be, no matter what disappointments we are dealing with, no matter how we’ve let Him down, should separate us from Him.
Because of this promise, what happens? We’re much more than just survivors. We’re more than conquerors. We’re able to be victorious because “neither death, nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Our God loves us. When the waves of life break over our heads, He is there to wrap His arms around us and hold us tightly. While He is always with us, we do have to turn to Him for the help we need. If we never acknowledge our need, if we never invite Him to support us, or if we never appropriate His strength, then we will be left feeling alone and needy. Are you feeling His arms around you today? He longs to shower you with His love. You are His precious child and He wants to be there for you, today and every day.
Further verses to study: Psalm 17:5-8; Psalms 36:7; Psalm 57:1; Psalm 61; Psalm 63, especially verses 3&4, 7&8; Psalms 91; Psalms 139, especially verse 10
This article is a classic originally published in our early print magazines.