Safe in the Arms
My verse, my only verse, in the depths of my black years was Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” I know that is not the whole verse, but I always tell people, half jokingly, that I wasn’t strong enough to handle a whole verse, a half of a verse was my limit.
My prayer to the Lord at that time was that even if I could not feel those arms that He would help me to believe that verse anyway. And He did. I didn’t feel His arms, but I knew, with no doubt, that they were there. And that helped me as I read through the Psalms and found other verses that described God as my refuge.
This week I was reading Peter’s first letter and caught a glimpse of what it means for those arms to be underneath. In Chapter One, Peter makes a list of what comprises those arms:
Verse 2. Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
- We know that God gives grace and He gives peace, but Peter says that they both are multiplied. Not just grace or peace like I might offer someone but God’s grace and God’s peace and both multiplied to His children.
Verse 3. His abundant mercy
- From one end of the scriptures to the other we know that God is merciful, but Peter reminds us that His mercy is abundant. Grace and peace are multiplied and mercy is abundant.
Verse 3. [He] hath begotten us again unto a lively hope.
- God has birthed us into a living hope. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead has given us birth into a hope that is alive. The hope is here, it is ours, it is now.
Verse 4. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
- The hope also looks forward to that day of my resurrection, the inheritance as a child of God of a reserved seat at heaven’s table that is uncorruptible, undefiled and cannot fade away.
Verse 5. Who are kept by the power of God
- My salvation is secure, not because I am securing it, but because God is. There were many times in my black years when I was just positive that I couldn’t possibly be a Christian because no Christian could feel as alone as I did. I could point back to my salvation at age 10 and tell you the section of the church I was in when I went forward to talk with the evangelist. I could remember my brother-in-law going forward with me. I could remember the evangelist as he led me to pray.
- I had doubted my salvation many times as a teenager, but this was different. I felt more alone than any time in my life. Peter reminded me that my salvation is kept by God’s power. My name is written on the palms of His hands and no amount of black times are going to change that.
This is what comprises those everlasting arms: multiplied grace and peace, abundant mercy, birthed into a living hope to an undefiled and incorruptible inheritance in heaven that cannot fade away, and kept by the power of the Almighty God.
Even in those black times, when I cannot feel the arms, they are there. He promised they are. And in case I forget? He had Peter make a list for me to remind me of the power in those arms. I want to thank Peter someday for his words, but more importantly, I want to thank the Lord for His promise that I am kept by His power, not mine. That is a good thing. No, that is the best thing.
And the black days, months, or years? Peter says they are only for a season. They may seem like a lifetime when we are in the middle of them, but they are for a season of time and they have a purpose:
Peter goes on:
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” I Peter 1:6-9
When I am in those black times, I may not be ready to “count it all joy”, but I can have a confidence, a settled confidence, that the Eternal God is my Refuge and underneath are His everlasting arms. For that, I am very thankful. By that, I am very secure.