Saturday, October 18, 2014

Holding God's Hand

When Josiah was two and wanted to walk everywhere, I insisted he hold my hand when we were outside, and he resented that restriction of his independence. I explained about cars; I explained about strangers; I told him I liked holding his hand; I demanded that he respect Mommy’s wishes. But none of that meant anything to my stubborn toddler. In the end I had to firmly and consistently insist that he hold my hand. There were spankings involved. More than once I pulled a crying child across a parking lot. In the end he realized that he was not going to win and began to automatically hold out his hand so I could take it. He began to feel safe and confident because of his connection to me. He learned to trust me to keep him safe.
I too am learning to hold hands…with God—though I have to say it’s taking me much longer than it took Joey. How sad is it that I am more stubborn than a two year old? Too often I have had to learn obedience the hard way—kicking and screaming. Or worse, gone spiritually boneless--a sullen heap on the ground—daring God to make me go with Him. I know better. There are dangers on every side; but like my former toddler, my confidence I know what I'm doing is often ill founded. I don’t know where the land mines are. Exotic disease, broken economic realities, natural disaster, failing political system, and the intolerant political correctness of tolerance all demand my attention and concern. And we are entering ever deeper into a reality in which self and its ravenous demands are worshipped as the ultimate good; which sadly I find is in me as much as in the world.

But because all these issues shout so loud from every side, I've become suspicious that they are mostly side show. Don't get me wrong, all these things are real, and big, and scary; but for believers they are penultimate only. The ultimate reality must be my need to grow and maintain an intimate relationship with Jesus. I must never stop learning to hear His voice amid all the competing voices around me. I keep forgetting what I must remember…the main event is that Jesus is coming back. Jesus is coming back and the only safe place to be in the midst of all these frightening realities is with Him, holding tight to His hand.

God alone knows thoroughly where the greatest danger lies for me…where I must not step if I don’t want to end up a bloody smear on the side of the road. I don’t always want to, but I want to want to automatically hold out my hand and let the Lord lead me. I am reminding myself that I need to put my trust in the One who not only knows my destination but the safest, best road to get there.

Lord, help me to stay focused on You. Keep fear for my personal safety, outrage at perceived slights or infringements of my ‘rights’ from blinding me from the greater reality that You are in charge and You know what You're doing. Help me to see your hand stretched out to me. And give me the humility to grasp it as if my life depended on it...because it does.

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