Written by Holly Madden, LeadHer Local Director. Connect with Holly on Instagram.
God’s arms are the safest place to be. Wrapped in His embrace of acceptance, promise, and protection. The Psalms are so descriptive, using words like refuge, a strong tower, and a hiding place to express exactly what the Presence of God is like.
It’s a place where as parents, we can come and lay down the needs and emotions of our little ones and trust that God has their hearts, their bodies, their minds, and their stories in His hands.
It’s a place where as entrepreneurs we can surrender the responsibility of clients, tasks, products, and vision and lean into the greater vision and purpose of our Creator who has gifted us with the very talents we use to make the world a better place.
It’s a place where as pastors and ministry leaders we can rest. Relinquishing the expectations to be there for those we are called to lead. We can cry, pray, shout, and plead with the God of the Heavens who takes the work of our hands and multiplies it with His provisions.
It’s a place where we can come when there is no safe place on this earth to bear our souls. It’s a place where the scars from the past do not hold any power to disqualify or to judge. It’s a place where emotion is welcome, and a broken heart is the purest of sacrifices.
Here, in God’s Presence, we are safe.
But life is full of challenges, decisions, and idols that provide distraction. And for a moment, we walk away. Sometimes our wandering only lasts a few minutes, sometimes it turns into years. And sometimes still it turns into decades.
Sometimes our walking away is the consequence of decisions we have made on our own. Sometimes it is the result of life beating us down and as we try to understand God’s goodness, we are blinded by the evilness of the world.
Sometimes our walking away comes because of rape, divorce, abuse, betrayal, war, death, abandonment, addiction, greed, or shame.
Sometimes our walking away comes because of unanswered prayers and unfulfilled dreams.
I don’t know what you’re story is but what I do know is that you are never too far away for God’s love to embrace you. We use the phrase, “come back,” but that would imply a journey of recounting our steps back to the beginning. The truth is when God calls us to “Come back,” He is really calling us to just turn around. God meets a simple confession with His forgiveness, He answers a cry for help with His redemption, and He responds to the words, “I believe,” with salvation.
Romans 8:38-39 declares that nothing can separate us from the love of our Creator.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (ESV).
No height, no depth can get in the way of God’s grand design for the relationship He has purposed with us. Nothing that is except ourselves. His call is clear, direct, and open. This invitation never closes as long as we are on this earth. No sin, no mistake, no consequence, no past can cause God to withdraw His invitation. You are never too far away, too far gone, too broken, too tired, or too wounded to come home.
In the Old Testament, God’s presence resided in the Tabernacle which was located in the Temple. This was called the “Holy of Holies” and was sacred. Only the appointed priests could enter. Every descriptor from this period of history: the tents, the walls, the sacrifices, the altar, the appointed leaders, were all signs not of a strict religion but of a God who desperately longed to live among His people. With sin came a cursed life of a separation and division between God and His creation. But every story in the Old Testament speaks volumes to the grace and the intentioned plan of God to once again reside among us. Exodus casts a powerful picture of people who were known for always wandering away from their God. Enslaved and forced to work without pay under Pharaoh, Exodus recounts one of the purest pieces of God’s grand vision. His longing for us.
Through the 12 plagues that befell Egypt, the freeing of thousands of slaves with their entire possessions, and the crossing through the Red Sea, God was not only demonstrating His power to the unbelieving Egyptians, but He was proclaiming loudly to the Israelites that He wanted them. He wanted them to come back to Him so He could reside with them. Following these events, God shares with Moses His vision, “I will sanctify the tent of meeting and the altar. I will also sanctify both Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me. I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. Then they will know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, so that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God” (Exodus 29:44-46 MEV)
God’s grand vision is a relationship with YOU. He wants to walk with you, talk with you, be with you, know you, and lead you. That doesn’t start with ritual or routine, that starts with a simple decision to turn around and to come back.
Our LeadHer Local Teaching Video this month addressed this concept of Come, and the more that I have personally spent reflecting on that invitation of our King, I am amazed at just how much longing and love pours from His words, Come to me.
- If you are a wanderer, wander no more. God’s embrace is the safest, surest place to be. Psalm 63:7.
- If you are in hiding, hide no more. God is a refuge like none other. Proverbs 19:10
- If you are afraid, put your trust in the One who is trustworthy. Proverbs 3:5
- If you are hurting, lift up your broken heart to the one who is near to those who hurt. Psalm 34:18
- If you are lonely, remember that God has promised that He will never leave you. Deuteronomy 31:6.
It is never too late to come back. You are always welcome, you are always wanted, and you are always loved.