Saturday, 4 June 2016

Underneath Are The Everlasting Arms

When I was 17, I went parasailing.

Parasailing is one of those activities that makes me love humanity a little bit more. Someone one day had the thought- wouldn't it be cool to attach a parachute to a motor boat and drive the motorboat so fast that the parachute is filled with air and the sky is filled with a happy thrill seeker!? And then they did it.

Now, at the time I was suffering from a) depression and b) being a teenager. I was not enjoying the holiday. I was deeply anxious about my sin, wrestling with guilt, frustrated with God about myself and my inadequacies and my life.

But I went paragliding anyway.

I was hooked up to a harness and propped on the end of the boat. As the speed increased the parachute billowed and I was lifted up in to the glorious blue sky. Soon the boat was a little dot beneath me.

Initially I felt a bit anxious.  I could hear the harness creaking and I briefly wondered what might happen if I plummeted in to the sea, or if I became unattached to the boat and ended up being transported miles through the air, crashing into the middle of some quiet little Greek village on the other side of the island! What an undignified way to die! (And because I was suffering from being a teenager an undignified death was a far more terrible thought that a painful one!)

Not many minutes in though- I was struck: my worrying would make zero difference to whether I remained airborne.

It was the harness, the parachute and the tethering on the boat that made the difference. If I trusted the equipment, I'd enjoy the time more. But my anxieties did not affect the reliability of it!

Far above the Mediterranean, my heart was filled with peace. Not just about the paragliding, but about the nature of my Father. I realised, my anxieties and guilt did not have any effect on the trustworthiness of God! My feelings could not undo his nature and his promise! 

Underneath are the everlasting arms.

His certain, eternal, rock-solid, unfaltering, caring arms were my security.

Underneath all of my anxieties and guilt and doubts and angst were the everlasting arms; his faithfulness rather than my faith guaranteed it.

His commitment to me is based on a covenant made with Jesus; all its demands are fulfilled. It is Christ, not my faith who is my refuge! He is the one who guarantees forgiveness and justification and a future hope, not me or my faith!

It was not my trust in the parachute that got me in the air... Although trusting in its promise not to liberate itself from the boat and deliver me into the presence of unsuspecting villagers did make a difference to my enjoyment!

And trusting in Jesus does make a difference to my joy!

But even when we are bruised and every attempt to trust feels like a struggle for air, his utterly faithful commitment to my eternal security does not change: underneath are the everlasting arms. 

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