Focus – In the Arms of God

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by Lt. Colonel Mervyn Morelock (R) –

Her story was poignant and moving. Illustrating the plight of thousands of people who have been battered and shattered by Hurricane Mitch in the Caribbean this past month, she was alone. Laura Isabel Arriola de Guity, a 36-year-old schoolteacher, was the lone survivor of her family. Her husband was dead. Her three children were dead. Her home was gone: torn away by the powerful flood tide that washed her from the home that had been two miles from the sea and over a mile from the river. She was washed to sea and floated on a makeshift raft for more than six days.

Her rescue was a dramatic miracle, for the British helicopter was looking for survivors of a missing yacht, not a lone figure on a raft of tree roots and branches, 75 miles out to sea.

Asked why she thought she survived while so many others died, Arriola paused, “To me it was because I was in the arms of God,” she said. “God had me in his arms, because it’s only with his help that I am still able to live.”

In recent days, that phrase, “In the arms of God,” has taken on a new meaning. In talking with men and women of the ARC who have accepted Christ’s love and power in their lives, being able to stay clean and sober is only because they rest “in the arms of God.”

Several have lost loved ones in recent weeks. They face life and their loss with calmness and confidence because they know their loved ones are resting “in the arms of God.” And because of that trust, their loss is a little less, because they too, “rest in the arms of God.”

The Psalmist has written, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling”. Psalm 116:7-8 (KJ)

In recent weeks, several conversations with people who have survived life-threatening illness have had a special kind of quality. One man, not given much to share his faith, said, “I count my recovery on three things, My desire to get well, the skill of the medical people who cared for me, but most of all for those who prayed for me.”

Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, shared, during a recent TV interview, that he counted his amazing and complete recovery from a devastating stroke to the power of “millions” of people who prayed for him. He is but one of many people who have experienced the power of prayer firsthand.

In the Territorial Call to Prayer ministry we hear reports every week of the power of prayer.

Recently, Lt. Colonel Alfred Van Cleef shared a copy of material prepared by Lt. Ronalee Fenrich of the Anaheim Red Shield Corps. The corps has instituted monthly prayer meetings in response to the Territorial Call to Prayer ministry and a weekly prayer focus is prepared by CSM Beth Ferguson. One prayer focus said:

“I must believe down into the very deepest part of my soul that God cares profoundly for me. That in spite of what I think of myself, what I think others think of me (or what others actually think of me), I am worth so much to God that he would allow his Son to die for me. I am important to God because he loves me and that is what matters most in my life. I need to respond to God by ceasing my frantic ways and resting in his capable arms.”

Because God has us in his arms, we can survive floods, illness, loneliness, and whatever life may bring.

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