Arms that Will Not Let Me Go

Henri once told his father that he always wanted to be a trapeze artist.

Having become great friends with The Flying Rodleighs, Henri Nouwen enjoyed their performances around Europe. “As a flyer, I must have complete trust in my catcher,” Rodleigh told him. “The public might think that I am the great star of the trapeze, but the real star is Joe, my catcher. He has to be there for me with split-second precision and grab me out of the air as I come to him in the long jump.”

Fascinated, Henri asked how that worked.

“The secret is that the flyer does nothing and the catcher does everything. When I fly to Joe, I have simply to stretch out my arms and hands and wait for him to catch me and pull me safely in… A flyer must fly and a catcher must catch, and the flyer must trust, with outstretched arms, that his catcher will be there for him,” Rodleigh concluded. (Henri Nouwen, “Our Greatest Gift”

In a similar way, God is always there to catch us – and hold tight.

We do nothing, except reach out. He does everything.

“The eternal God is your refuge and dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33.27)

He is our dwelling place. No matter where we go in the world, God is the One who will provide a home and safe refuge. And His arms will never let us go.

Psalm 139 is one of the most beloved passages in the Bible. It begins with David’s realization of God’s intimate knowledge of us and constant presence with us. We are told You surround me—front and back. You put your hand on me. That kind of knowledge is too much for me; it’s so high above me that I can’t fathom it.” (Psalm 139.5-6)

Did you know God holds you?

I love nothing better than to hold my precious grands in my arms. Unless it’s to hold them and read a book. Such as “The Runaway Bunny” by Margaret Wise Brown. Written in 1942, it’s a classic for children of any age.

Of course the little bunny, like many of us, wants to run away from home and experience a grand adventure. But no matter how or where he decides to go, his mother is always there — for she loves her little bunny very much.

When the bunny says he’ll become a rock on a high mountain, the mother replies that she will then become a mountain climber and climb to where he is. When he decides to hide in a garden as a crocus, she declares that she will become a gardener and find him. And when he threatens to become a bird and fly away from her, she calmly proclaims that she will then become a tree that he comes home to. After several more scenarios the little bunny realizes the relentless love of his mother and decides, “Shucks, I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.” (Margaret Wise Brown, “The Runaway Bunny”)

Where can you go from His presence?

Nowhere. God’s hand will be wherever we are – to lift us up, to hold us tight.

Shucks, we may as well rest in the dwelling place of His love and care. And be His child.

If I could fly on the wings of dawn,  stopping to rest only on the far side of the ocean—even there Your hand would guide me; even there Your strong hand would hold me tight! Psalm 139:9-10 

  under the mercy, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength”

©2020 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” She has authored 15 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” and “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most.” She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouragement at

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  1. Cathy Baker on November 18, 2020 at 12:07 pm

    I’ve never read the story of the friendship between Nouwen and Rodleigh. What a powerful story, especially when grounded in the truth of Jesus Christ. Thank you for sharing this, Lucinda. Images of flying and catching will stay with me throughout the day, and hopefully even longer!

  2. Tracy Arntzen on November 18, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Beautiful assurance we are within His touch at every moment! Thank you for those encouraging words

  3. Cindy Bolshaw on November 18, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    I love the bunny story. Thank you.

  4. Mary on November 18, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder of God’s ever-present love and care for us!

  5. Maribeth Ditmars on November 18, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    I loved the trapeze story. Letting go has always been my greatest challenge. Even when I’m in tbe air for a really long time, God still catches me!

  6. Ellie Gustafson on November 18, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    You caught me with 1) Henri Nouwen, and 2) The Runaway Bunny–both of them instructive and comforting. Thank you!

  7. barbara on November 18, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    you are sooooo beautiful. so so beautiful. xoxoxoxo

  8. Terri Wilber on November 18, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    What a powerful message! Says it all, thank you for this needed not just today, but, everyday..

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