A friend of mine recently went through a divorce and his 9 year-old son James, was struggling with his emotions when his father moved out of the house. One weekend while visiting his father at his new house, his Dad could do nothing right. James showed his frustration at even the slightest issues. He was aggressive with his brother and sister, talked back to his Dad, and then finally refused to speak when his Dad asked him a question. Pushed to the limit, his Dad grabbed him by the arm and started marching him to the back bedroom. “Oh, no, he’s in for it now” was all his sister could say, knowing that their Dad had moved from perturbed to angry. “Time out” for sure, but maybe even a spanking was in the works. Dad and son marched down the hallway. As they reached the bedroom doorway, James started hitting his father and screaming, “This is all your fault, I hate you. You will never be my father again.”
James was still screaming and hitting away when his Dad closed the bedroom door. My friend took off his shirt, and amid the pummeling, took off his son’s shirt, too. He wrestled James to the bed, holding him tight – James was hitting him and screaming the entire time. Yet my friend was relentless; he wouldn’t let his son go. He deflected the punches and held him tightly, “skin to skin”. After 10 minutes, James became exhausted and started crying. He was still hitting his father, but the blows were coming farther apart and with no force whatsoever. His father still wouldn’t let him go. Another 5 minutes came and went. Now James was sobbing uncontrollably in his father’s embrace. His father held him even tighter. Finally, the crying stopped too. It was only then that James could feel Christ’s heart through the heartbeat of his father, “skin to skin”. In a few minutes, James was fast asleep in his father’s arms.
Just like James, we need to surround ourselves with people who know God and who help us get through the tough times here on Earth - people who remind us that God just won’t let us go. God lets us thrash around, crying, screaming, kicking and beating on Him until we finally exhaust ourselves - but He never lets go. It is “skin to skin”…God and us. Eventually we calm down, our tears dry, and we can feel His heart beating together with ours.
So, have a good cry, and flail around all you want. Get your pain out in the open. Tears will dry; your thrashing around will slow. You’ll feel the warm embrace of the God who loves you. You can fall asleep in his arms.
I pray that you will be “skin to skin” with God during this Lenten Season, comforted by His loving embrace. Just like my friend, you may have failed in some aspect of your life in knowing God’s will. But God is relentless; he will use you to share His greatness. Someone in your life needs to feel God’s loving embrace. Reach out and touch them today.