Acts 28:17-31 Three days after Paul’s arrival [in Rome], he called together the local Jewish leaders. … “I asked you to come here … to explain that I am bound with this chain because I believe that the hope of Israel—the Messiah—has already come. … The Holy Spirit was right when he said to your ancestors … ‘the hearts of these people are hardened … their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them’” [Isaiah 6:9-10; Matthew 13:15].
I’m at Fall Run Park with two-year-old Caleb, his baby sister Talita in a pack on my chest. Caleb dawdles on footbridge #5, watching the brook gurgle over the rocks. I turn to see whether he’s coming. He looks up and runs as fast as he can to catch up to us, trips over a stone in the path and falls flat. In an instant he is up and running to me, shrieking, blood running down his arms and legs. Others on the path reach out, wanting to help.
But it’s to me he runs, even as I jog the few steps back toward him, wanting to care for his wounds, but even more, to comfort his heart. I know I can do this. The bond between us is strong. In that moment, there is nothing else in my mind and heart but the desire to restore my grandson to the joy he had been experiencing moments before.
“Turn to me and let me heal you.” Can you hear the yearning in the Father’s heart? He sees me in need, and he has the solution to my needs. His arms are open wide, an expression of love and compassion and tenderness on his face. He longs to care for me. But I am afraid and shrink away. It was my own fault I fell. I am so clumsy! I should have—so many things! Not run so fast, watched where I was running, not dawdled in the first place . . . I am ashamed. I turn to others, seeking comfort and protection and healing in other places, inadequate places. The Father’s face falls, even while his arms still stretch toward me. His heart is broken because I have listened to other voices, telling me I must heal myself before I can turn to him—something I can do no better than my two-year-old grandson could care for himself.
The Father’s invitation still stands, his arms open wide, hope and love on his face. Turn to me and let me heal you.