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by Phil Ware

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When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:6-8)

    She was precious and she captured my heart! She had been fast asleep when the team vans pulled into the restaurant to eat. She wasn’t very happy to be awakened, so mom and dad tried to take turns eating while the other attempted to keep her occupied. As I visited with her dad, she hesitantly reached out her arms to me to take her, then meekly drew them back. Her mom asked if she wanted to go to me, and then she smiled, arms outstretched, and I gladly picked her up and pulled her close. Mom was glad to have a chance to eat with dad. I was thrilled since my “baby girl” is now 17. It’s been a long time since I’ve snuggled with a little girl in “toddlerhood.” What a special moment of grace!

    When she reached for me, this little one only knew that her parents trusted me, nothing else. She had only really seen me once before that moment. She was trusting, but had no idea who I was. It was a simple, childlike trust. She could not ever understand how sweet that moment was to me, or what a blessing it was to both mom and dad as they finished their meal and enjoyed a few moments of conversation. She also had no idea of her vulnerability in coming to another adult. Her life was lived surrounded by loving parents, kids, and grandparents. The innocence of that moment and the sweetness of that snuggle still lingers in my memory.

Jesus loves us enough to reach for us...
    The Cross of Calvary is special to us for many reasons. One of those reasons is that in the Cross, Jesus stretches out his arms, seeking to come to us and to be received by us, trusting us to take his offer of love. Yet Jesus knows us and he knows the vulnerabilities of his trust. He knows our weaknesses and failures. He knows that our love won’t be perfect — not even on our best days. He knows that many for whom he suffers and dies will reject him, yet he still makes his offer of love with arms outstretched. He doesn’t do it because he knows he can trust us: he does it knowing that he can’t! He loves us enough to reach for us, risking everything, knowing that we can accept or reject him and his painful offer of grace. Incredible! God comes to earth and reaches for us and let’s us decide what to do with his offer of love.

    I will long remember those sweet, trusting, outstretched arms and a precious smile that reached for me that night in the restaurant. It was a sweet taste of grace and gave me something to look forward to in my own family journey into the future. I also hope I will always remember the outstretched arms at Calvary, and the offer of love that God gave me there through his Son. It, too, is a sweet taste of grace — an anticipation of the day I stand and see my Savior face to face and thank him personally for his outstretched arms and his gift of love.

See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are! But the people who belong to this world don’t know God, so they don’t understand that we are his children. Yes, dear friends, we are already God’s children, and we can’t even imagine what we will be like when Christ returns. But we do know that when he comes we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. (1 John 3:1-2)

 
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      Title: ""
      Author: Phil Ware
      Publication Date: March 10, 2003


 
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