Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Restraining Arm

Restraining Arm
By Shannon Woodward

“He acted with a strong hand and powerful arm. His faithful love endures forever.” (Ps. 136:12, NLT)

I inherited my mother’s arm.

The three of us girls each received unique qualities and character traits from our mother. One sister got her gracefulness. The other inherited her decorating skills. But me? I have her restraining arm.

You know the arm I’m talking about. It’s your right arm – the one that pops out to save your child’s life when you have to brake suddenly. The traffic light turns yellow, or the car in front of you swerves or screeches to a halt. You don’t even think in a situation like that. Your response is automatic: out pops the arm – and, voila! Another life is saved.

My children don’t appreciate the arm.

“You scare me when you do that!’ my 14 year-old son complained one afternoon right after I saved his life.

“Can’t help it,” I responded. “I’m a mom.”

“I’m wearing my seatbelt, you know,” he said.

I glanced at the seatbelt. It did a semi-adequate job, I supposed. But without the added layer of protection afforded by my appendage, who knew what calamity might befall my child?

I didn’t like the arm either, as a child. But now that I’m on the other side of the limb – now that I’m the one actually operating the tool – I understand better what it’s all about.

It’s about loving someone enough that you’ll stop him or her mid-flight. It’s about not wanting to see that loved one go through pain. It’s about protection.

God has a restraining arm, too. And because we’re children, we don’t always appreciate when our Father stops us in our tracks, bars the door, blocks the entrance, or says “no.”

But we should appreciate it. It’s just more proof that he loves and protects his children – whether we’re 4 or 14 or 104.

So the next time you feel that restraining arm of God, don’t complain or argue or pout. Give it a hug instead – and say “thank you.”

Point to ponder: Because your Father loves you and doesn’t want to see you head toward pain or destruction, he will often restrict, restrain or bar you from moving forward.

Verse: He acted with a strong hand and powerful arm. His faithful love endures forever. (Ps. 136:12, NLT)

What will you do about it: The next time a door closes in your face, you find yourself detoured, or you hear a strong “no,” remember that God can and will direct your path for your own good. Instead of resenting his restraining arm, thank him for it.

Prayer: Thank God that he loves you enough to stop you from hurting yourself.

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