As a small boy I admired my father’s muscular arms. He was a carpenter who spent his days swinging a hammer and lifting lumber. The hard work gave him bulging muscles that he also used to help us build tree forts and remodel our home.
One day my younger brother and I challenged our dad to a wrestling match. We knew we couldn’t beat him, but wanted to have fun trying. Instead of getting down on the floor, he simply smiled at us as he rolled up his sleeves, bent his arms, and showed us his muscles. Then he held both arms straight out from his side. He was challenging us to knock him down!
We darted at him, each jumping up and grabbing an arm to pull him over. We were like monkeys swinging on steel beams! Dad didn’t budge. We yanked up and down with all our strength.He just smiled down at us and then easily lifted us both a few feet off the ground.
The Bible refers to the mighty arms of God more than 40 times. Sometimes my father’s arms protected me as a child. He once lifted me up onto his shoulders when a large dog came barking at me. Another time he grabbed me just before I darted out into the street in front of a car. In the same way, David once wrote of God: “You have with Your arm redeemed Your people” (Ps. 77:15).*
At other times my dad’s arms expressed affection for me. One night, as a small child, I lay in bed afraid. We were visiting my cousins, and I felt alone in a strange room. My father lay down beside me with his arm around me until I fell asleep.
Perhaps the simplest act that showed my father’s enduring love for me was carrying me into the house after a long trip in the car. My brothers and I would often fall asleep when coming home well after bedtime. Dad would quietly pick each of us up, take us to our bedroom, and slip us into bed. Half asleep, I would feel my father’s strong arms beneath me.
Dad’s arms are now feeble. Each time I visit him at the care center where he lives, I reach my arm around him and tell him, “I love you, Dad.”
Though he’s now very weak, he puts an arm around me and whispers, “I love you, too.”
Someday soon we’ll put Dad into the arms of God. I’ll miss my dad’s arms, but I know I’ll feel them once more in their full strength when Jesus comes again. Until then, I know I’m safe in my heavenly Father’s arms.
—Turn to pages 44-45 of the June 2015 Adventist Review to read the original article.
* All Scripture quotations have been taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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