Arms of The Shepherd

Just yesterday I witnessed something that made me think about the space in our being that needs to be filled with peace; some call it a hole in the heart that aches to know comfort and joy when something unpleasant strikes. What I saw was a little boy, about two, who was playing near his watching mother. In his moving about he stumbled and fell, causing him to drop the toy car he clung to with his tiny fingers. His reaction? He began to cry. His mother stooped to gather him in her arms. That’s nice, I thought, seeing her love and concern on her face, but what happened wasn’t so nice. Instead of snuggling into his mother’s arms, he struggled and wiggled to get away. She set him down. The tears continued. He stood there crying alone in his little world. Finally, he took a step toward his mother and raised his arms. She picked him up and held him close. He lay his head on her shoulder, accepting her comfort until his own tears and fears melted away.

I told myself to remember this incident the next time I experienced an ache in my heart, a disappointment in my life, an unexpected dilemma to handle. I told myself that just as that mother came to the aid of her little boy, my Heavenly Father was always there, ready to swiftly come to my aid. I also reminded myself that I, too, like that little boy, sometimes struggled and wiggled to go my own way, to ignore my Father’s comfort and guidance. I could take care of myself and my own problems. Of course, just as many of you have discovered, making our own path never solves anything. It does add to the havoc and pain we’re already experiencing. Like many of you, I also find that, just as the little boy who finally returned to his mother for comfort, my Heavenly Father is waiting for me to turn to Him for my every need. When I settle into His presence, His own peace seeps from His heart into all the hurting places inside of me. He gives a peace that the world cannot give. We only need to snuggle into His presence.

When we stumble, when we hurt, when we feel alone, remember psalm 23:4, “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.” When I was younger I didn’t understand the rod and the staff. They didn’t sound like something of comfort, until I realized they were used by shepherds to rescue their sheep who had perhaps slipped down a ravine or stumbled into weeds. The rod and staff were used to lift them up into the safe arms of their shepherd.

May we all be quick in our personal pain to look to our Heavenly Father. His arms are always open to guide, comfort and soothe.

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