Psalm 5:11-12 - But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favour as with a shield. (ESV)

ZoŽ, my eighteen-month-old daughter, came to visit me in hospital recently, when I was ill. She climbed up on the bed where I was, ignored the IV drip in my arm and my yellow skin, and came into the safety of the fold of my arm and chest to have a cuddle. It was her way of saying, without words, that she missed her dad's embrace. This was in complete contrast to the little independent madam who had been running about the house away from her dad a few days earlier, confident in her father's love and presence.

Of course, I nearly burst out into tears there and then, but we men are not supposed to do such things, so I held it in. Meanwhile, the rest of the family retold their stories of the day and enquired about what was going on. It was so good to have them there. Caroline, my wife, did her best to hold it all together in the shock and stress of dealing with everyday life and the absence of my presence. I had not been in hospital since I was seventeen. I am now fifty-four! All she wanted was my embrace, too. It was very hard for me not to be able to say, "Well, that's enough of that. Let's go home now!"

After they had all gone, I had time to reflect upon how important those embraces were to us and how God loves each and every one of us. It occurred to me that He, too, covets our embrace -- through praise, worship, and prayer.

In fact, He gave everything to us in Jesus, just so that we could experience His embrace via the Holy Spirit, if we do not harden our hearts and run away!

Prayer: Lord, please forgive our presumption that we can put off until tomorrow the prayers of thanks and praise that You covet and seek from us. We worship You, and ask that You would speak to us today through the power of the Holy Spirit -- to refresh our hearts, minds, and wills to be in line with the desire of Your heart. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Rod Marshall [email protected]
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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