With Arms Raised High
When I first became a father, I learned very quickly that life had changed. Suddenly there was this infant who could do nothing and needed everything. Feeding, bathing, protecting, diaper changing, rocking. I got so tired watching Beverly do this.
One of my fondest memories is the first time he looked at me, got this huge smile, and held up his arms. The message was clear. I want you to pick me up, hold me, hug me, love me, and be quick about it. So I did…and it was the coolest thing ever.
Years later he got a sister and brother. I had that moment with each of them. It has also happened with the children of friends and others in my family. Huge smiles, arms raised, not so subtle command. I always loved it. I wonder, is there a lesson here?
Jesus loves us, the children of God
Jesus loved little children. Once He took a child in his arms and told His disciples, Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.1
Another time when the disciples tried to stop children from reaching Jesus, He said, Let the little children come to me…for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Then He took them in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.2
The Ancient Greek word translated “took them in His arms” comes from enagkalizomai, which means to gather up and embrace. So what did Jesus do? For each and all of these children, He picked them up, held them, hugged them, and loved them.
And He wants to hold us in His arms.
Why would Jesus do that? Because little children want to be picked up, held, hugged and loved. It’s simply a part of a child’s nature. But also because Jesus wanted to pick them up, hold them, and hug them. He wanted to share His love with them.
Whenever I hugged my children, the worries and troubles of the day would fade away for a moment. Jesus needed that, too. Maybe it reminded Him of their innocence and love. Maybe it set aside, just for a moment, His attention for what was to come.
Ever wanted Jesus to hug you? Try it the next time you pray. Go to your quiet place. Put a big smile on your face. Raise your arms high. Tell Him how much you love Him. And feel the warmth of His embrace as He gently gathers you into His arms.
Chuck Graham is Founder and Executive Director of Ciloa, an international ministry devoted to encouraging others and teaching them how to encourage one another. Also an author and speaker, Chuck and his wife, Beverly, live in Lawrenceville, Georgia, USA. Learn more about Chuck and Ciloa at www.Ciloa.org.
Footnotes: (1) Read Mark 9:36-37. (2) Read Mark 10:13-16.
Pictures: 1st Photo: Child on a beach in Mexico by Todos Santos, 2015. 2nd Photo: Perfect Love, painting by Del Parson. 3rd Photo: 5 minute video link to Episode 3 “Jesus Loves The Little Children” of The Chosen.