Hand in hand
Recently, I've shared several stories about the wonderful visit we had with our great-nephew, his wife, and their two adorable children. Over the last several years as we've traveled north to visit with the family, we've had short visits with the kids. So, they know who we are, but we've never spent days with them. As you can imagine, it took some time for us to build trust with the little munchkins.
Several days into their visit we were out exploring local kid-friendly sites when this little hand reached up and grabbed my hand. The moment that little hand made contact with mine, my heart smiled. I treasured in my heart that sweet moment and in the days that have followed the Lord has used it to speak many truths into my heart.
Getting to know God to the point of trusting Him can be kind of like our visit with our great, great niece and nephew. I'm told God is loving and I see others I trust interacting with Him, but I'm not sure so I watch. I get a little closer to enjoy some activities with Him, but I still keep my distance. As I get to know Him a little better, I begin to let myself enjoy Him. Then one day, all of a sudden and in an unplanned moment, I run up to Him and put my hand in His, and we walk together. It's a huge moment of trust on my part. Oh, He's been there all along, and at any moment I could have walked hand in hand with Him. But, I didn't know Him well enough, and I wasn't sure who He was or if I could personally trust Him. But there was that one moment when I reached out and took His hand.
Oh, it didn't take long for something to attract my attention. So, there I was letting go of His hand to run ahead. But I've noticed He is always just right there...watching. Sometimes He comes for me and tells me it's time to go, and we leave hand in hand. There are times when He picks me up carries me away and still other times when He seemingly drags me off.
No, I can't physically put my hand in the hand of God, but His presence in my life is no less real, felt or powerful. How do I know this? Listen to what He says in Psalm 139:1-10.
"Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me. [This] extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to [reach] it. Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I live at the eastern horizon [or] settle at the western limits, even there Your hand will lead me; Your right hand will hold on to me."
Based on these verses, I imagine that when I run to God and put my hand in His - placing all my trust in Him by walking hand in hand - He is pleased.
God's ever presence in my life is huge. Sometimes I am so certain of and secure in His presence that I think I take it for granted. How it must please Him when I turn and fix my eyes on Him or stop to run to Him to tell Him something or invite Him in on my activities, and most certainly when I grab hold of His hand.
Do you understand what I'm talking about? Walking with God speaks of a relationship. He is my good, good Father who gave me life and provides for me. He protects, leads and guides, teaches and trains, and helps me!
Slipping my hand in the hand of God means I've gained full access to God and the only way to do that is through Jesus. Jesus says in John 14:6 that He is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him. You see our sins have separated us from God and our sins have hidden His face (His presence) from us. The penalty or price of our sin is death. Death here speaks of both physical death and exclusion and separation from the presence and favor of God in consequence of sin and disobedience, but never as extinction. However, God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Not wanting to be separated from us or a minute, God sacrificed His only son Jesus so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. God made Jesus who knew no sin to become sin on our behalf so that we might become right with God. Jesus shed His blood and died in our place purchasing us for God's very own possession. #wow
How does this relationship begin? Where do we start? Put your hand in the hand of Jesus. As I type these words, the lyrics from an old, old song come to mind.
"Put your hand in the hand of the man
Who stilled the water
Put your hand in the hand of the man
Who calmed the sea
Take a look at yourself
And you can look at others differently
Put your hand in the hand of the man
Oh yeh!" - Put Your Hand in the Hand by Anne Murray
I talk a great deal about how this and other relationships shape our thinking and life in my book #selftalk. It's an 8-Week, Bible-based self-help workbook will help you look for answers to questions you’ve never dared to ask; and in the process, you will discover insights that will change your change your mind, change your life!