Can you see the comfort and love in this sculpture? Aren’t there days that you want to feel this? Bad days where people let you down. Where, I dare say, you even think God has let you down? Where life really just sucks and you want someone to gather you in his or her arms and comfort you and let you know how loved you are and that everything is going to be OK? But everyone around you is wrapped up in his or her lives, and besides, you know deep down that they can’t REALLY understand and they certainly can’t DO anything about it.
But God can and God does. God gives hope and comfort and peace that people can’t.
I seem to be in a season where many of the people around me are in crisis. Death, broken marriages, broken relationships, illness, surgery, mental illness. There is really not that much I can do for them, but offer a ministry of presence. But I know God CAN offer a peace and a comfort that goes deeper than any hugs I can give. I can and do pray that for them. I pray that they can and do feel the arms of a loving God around them. God offers hope that isn’t available in other places. As I pray for these people, I imagine them being held by God as they cry into God’s lap, finding that comfort, love, and hope in darkest times.
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Ps. 34:17-18, NIV)
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds. (Ps. 147:3, NIV)
This is a sculpture of The Prodigal Son in the gardens at the National Cathedral. I have looked at it many times and it always draws me in. Knowing the story, I know how joyous that the Father is that the Son has returned. In this passage and in this sculpture, I try to imagine the Son’s life on the edge, a life of failure and brokenness and lost dreams. I know that no matter what life looks like, I try and imagine what it would be like to melt into God’s lap and really fully experience God’s all encompassing love.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20, NIV)