Giving the Stiff-Arm

Yes, I realize we are in the midst of March Madness. Even so, I have been thinking about a football move recently–the stiff-arm. My 9-year-old daughter has a love language of physical touch. She loves to give hugs, to cuddle, and to hang on you. My 13 year old’s love language is acts of service. She is not at all into the touchy-feely stuff. My younger daughter knows this about my older daughter and loves to torment her by trying to give hugs. My older daughter’s response is the stiff-arm–to not allow the younger daughter to get close enough for the mushy lovey stuff. I have been thinking about how this is like God pursuing us and our response is to keep Him at bay.

English: Brandon Graham (American football) an...

English: Brandon Graham (American football) and Terrell Pryor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The whole purpose of the stiff-arm is to keep the pursuer at bay and not allow them to get close enough. God is the pursuer. Think about the father in the story of the prodigal son. God is running to get to us. But how many times have we, instead of allowing God to catch us, have we thrown the stiff-arm to keep him from reaching us? Maybe it was

  • deflecting an offer of assistance from a neighbor,
  • not taking time in the morning–telling Him that you can handle this day on your own,
  • avoiding seeing friends who want to share the fellowship of God’s love, or
  • ignoring that still small voice that speaks to our heart.

Can you imagine how the story of the Prodigal Son would be different if the Son had thrown a stiff-arm to his father? I am sure that the father would not have been deterred. Just like my 9-year-old, he would have continued to pursue his son. Just like our Heavenly Father, he would have jumped right back up and continued chasing. In fact, our little stiff-arm is not enough to even slow God. He will pursue us relentlessly and he will overtake us. He will tackle us with His undying love and affection.

As we enter the Holy Week, take a moment and consider if you are trying to give God the stiff-arm in an area of your life. Where are you trying to keep Him at bay? Stop running and allow God’s outstretched arms to wrap tightly around you and hold you in His perfect love.


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