They acknowledged our three year old grandson and, as you’d expect, he was a little wary of this stranger stopping to talk to him. Instinctively he put out one arm, protecting his little sister who was just behind him.
I was amazed at this response of protection from a three year old. But I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Because we’ve all been made in the image of God, and it’s in God’s nature to be protective of those he loves.
The apostle Paul has a great description on love in one of his letters, and it says in part: Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
Some people struggle with the idea of God as father because experiences with their own father hasn’t been good. If that’s the case you may find some comfort from verses like these that show the protective nature of God.
The prophet Isaiah quoted God as saying: “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”
Isaiah also quoted God in this way: Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me. Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”
Here’s one that draws on the image of a mother eagle (Deuteronomy 32): In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them aloft. The Lord alone led him.
Jesus himself said: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
What a great picture this is of a God who cares so much about those he loves. You can see the mother hen trying to get all her chickens together but some of them are running off in the opposite direction. How frustrating it is to try and keep them altogether.
And that’s just what Jesus is saying. His goal is to protect and draw people to himself, but more often than not, our independent nature comes into play and we resist God’s love.
If a three year old can protect his little sister, how much more will almighty God protect those he loves. And how crazy it is when we don’t accept that love and allow God to protect us.