The Contortionist’s Trick

Deuteronomy 1:31 “There you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a father carries his son” (NIV).

Observation: At the edge of the Promised Land, Moses began summarizing the reasons for the Israelites’ long desert exile…until all in the previous generation had died. In further describing what the people had turned away from, Moses reached for a metaphor of intimacy: “The LORD…carried you as a father carries his son.”

Application: What a delightful thought, to be carried by God as a father carries his son! The possibilities of what that might look like are endless. Think first of the man injured by Egypt’s harsh taskmasters. Bloodied welts now dried are nonetheless still tender to the touch and a tongue swollen from heat and thirst can no longer cry for help, yet the father picks him out of the painful debris, carrying his limp form in extended arms to a place of healing and rest.

Or consider the exhausted woman made angry by years of oppression and struggle. Unable to summon strength to walk farther on her own, the father scoops her up and holds her to his chest, her head resting on his shoulder as his strong legs carry her to freedom and release. Or, picture a playful child laughing in delight as he races toward the father utterly confident that he will be swept into the air, held securely by the father’s sure hands as they twirl together in a delighted dance.

I have a father who is exactly like this. “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with His love, he will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). His heart literally explodes with love for me. No crouching danger, no wasting disease, no thought of emotional or physical abandonment can gain foothold in a heart carried by the Father. That’s why His heart broke when the Israelites said no to Him. That’s why He is so grieved when He sees me labor to carry myself, to make my own way through life. His disciplines come in response to my decisions, but as painful as they may be, they are always for the purpose of restoration. Whether I require forty minutes, forty years, or a whole lifetime, His one desire is to carry me like a father carries his child. In His safe, secure arms, absolutely nothing can separate me from His love.

Prayer: Father God, all You desire is a yes in my heart toward You, isn’t it? A final, full surrender. Forgive me, Lord, for all the times I have tried the contortionist’s trick of carrying myself; how Your heart must have saddened. It is good, indeed, to be carried by You. Thank You for Your great love.

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