I had the opportunity this week to sneak away for an exciting outing with my youngest. By “exciting” I mean that by Covid standards it was exciting – it was a trip to the grocery store. He’s almost two and a half years old and he is absolutely amazing. He brings joy and laughter and keeps us on our toes as he often keeps pace with the big kids as they climb and swing and run. We did not know if he was a boy or girl until he was born and although I would have been thrilled with a girl, we were over the moon that we had another boy. He is the perfect bookend to our family.
Like most moms, I typically put my son in the grocery cart if he is shopping with me in order to move quickly and contain my curious boy. But this outing was different. I was only running in to get one thing, ice cream cones for a movie night so I quickly ran in, holding him. When we were picking out the cones, he wanted to get down so I let him and then we turned to walk up the aisle to pay. When we turned, there was a pretty large man approaching us and I felt my son reach up for my hand. My hand was open and waiting. The man walked by us and we started up the aisle, but my son held tightly to my hand. We paid and out the door we went, all the while he continued to hold my hand. It wasn’t until we got to the safety of our car that he let go.
I didn’t think much of it at the time but later I told my husband and tears welled up in my eyes as I could see the bigger picture that my baby was growing up. He no longer needed the baby carrier. He no longer needed the cart. He now needed my hand.
As I reflected on the simple and seemingly uneventful experience, God gave me a picture of himself and our journey with Him. God is our faithful father. He never leaves us or forsakes us. Isaiah 41:13 says, “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
My son grabbed my hand that day in the store and held tightly. As the man passed, I felt his grip loosen but he still held on. When we went through the checkout line and strangers were around, I again felt his grip tighten. His response to fear was to cling tighter to me, his security.
When we choose to follow Jesus, we are making the choice to take hold of his hand. His hand is waiting for us all along, but just as my son reached out to take my hand, we have to reach out to accept God’s hand hold. His hand is waiting for you. Have you reached out to take hold of it?
The picture of my son that day, holding my hand constantly but gripping tighter when he felt fear is a picture of our journey with Christ. I hold my Savior’s hand constantly, but in moments of fear, confusion, anger, hurt, pain, I cling tighter, reminding myself that He is holding my hand and He will help me.
Throughout the Bible, “right hand” is used to signify strength and authority. I love the promise given in Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Not only is He giving us the promise that He is with us, He is also promising that he will strengthen us. I don’t know about you, but I could use all the God-given strength I can possibly get!
Just as my son received strength to press on through his fear by holding tightly to my hand, we too can receive strength to press on through our fears by holding tightly to God’s hand.
As we journey with the Lord, there will be moments in life when it is tempting to let go of his hand. When things are going well, when life is easy, when we are comfortable. When we are in the safety of our own car. But God continually reminds me to not let go, even when life is smooth. And He reminds me to cling tighter when the journey is hard, or unknown or scary.
This week I received a phone call that caused my heart to race with fear and anxiety. I gripped God’s hand as hard as I could and I am still holding tightly. I don’t know the outcome to the situation, but I know God’s hand won’t let mine go. Nor do I want to let His go. As the hours passed and we waited for news, I became overwhelmed with gratitude that I was holding God’s hand tightly. My heart broke thinking about people who go through storms and rough waters and are alone and untethered. If you by chance are reading this and don’t know Jesus, reach out. His hand is waiting and it is the kindest and strongest hand you will ever hold.
God, thank you for always holding my hand.