News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Jeff Gardner

Leaning on the everlasting father's arms

Sunday, my 2-year old daughter, Grace, wanted to come to "big church" because her grandparents were there.

At first she kept looking around, taking in all the sights and sounds of "big church," and waving at all the people she knew. Then there was a dramatic change in her demeanor. She became almost fearful, overwhelmed with all the people and with being in a new environment. She whispered in my ear, "Daddy, hold me." All she wanted to do was wrap her arms around her daddy because she feels safe and secure in Daddy's arms.

It is here that God taught me something through my 2-year old. We started singing "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," and then I caught a glimpse of understanding God as my daddy. The lyrics are "What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms."

Tears started rolling down my face. Grace showed me that I can go to God as a little child goes to Daddy. When overwhelmed, uncertain and afraid, I can climb into the wide open arms of the Creator of the universe to find safety, security, peace and love.

Life is full of overwhelming moments. Layoffs. Cancer. Divorce. Death. In the midst of these moments, we can turn to God, lean on him, rely on him and trust in him.

I have found it is hardest for me to lean on God in the little things of life. We lean on so many different things — finances, jobs, position and the American dream. All these are weak props. Proverbs 3 reminds us to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."

God longs for us to lean on him in the everyday. As believers we must depend on God in all situations and circumstances. The mundane is a great place to practice faith in God.

Think about your day. Maybe there is something big — a doctor's appointment, a test, a meeting with your boss, a goodbye to say. Or your day could be full of the mundane — bills, work, taking out the garbage. Regardless of what your day holds, today you can practice leaning on God for everything. Crawl up in his lap, wrap your arms around him, and whisper in his ear, "Daddy, hold me."

Jeff Gardner, minister to students at Westmeade Baptist Church, is one of several local ministers writing religion columns for THE DAILY. For more information, call Melanie Smith at 340-2468 on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.

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