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September 18

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September 18

HAND IN HAND

by Joel Jongkind, 2014

 

Psalm 31:1,3b,4b,14,15a – In You, O Lord, I put my trust; let me never be ashamed; deliver me in your righteousness. Lead me and guide me, for you are my strength. I trust in You O Lord; my times are in your hand. (NKJV)

Some time ago, our oldest daughter, her husband, and their five-year-old granddaughter visited us for a few days. They live far away, and we had not see our great-granddaughter since she was a baby, and they had not yet seen our new house. One afternoon, the little girl and I walked to the area mailbox at the end of our street. We walked along, and I held her hand. She looked for puddles on the street and splashed in them when I let her, but she did hang onto my hand — she trusted me.

That reminded me of occasions when it is so important and comforting to hold hands with someone. I remember the first time I reached out to hold a girl's hand at a church picnic in 1951, and the surprise when she did not pull hers away. We still hold hands at times — same girl!

I also remember the thrill so many years ago when I held the hand of the one who is now the grandmother, as we went for a walk — those tentative steps when she first learned to walk, hanging tightly onto my hand. She has three grandchildren now.

But people also hold hands in a compassionate way. When I go to the hospital or the Long Term Care Centre to visit someone, I will hold their hand quite often, to comfort them.

There are times when we just don't know how to carry on. Sometimes, we are too weak to reach out our hand. Sometimes, we are paralyzed by fear or anxiety. Sometimes, our lives are threatened by illness. Sometimes, we are shattered by death. Sometimes, we walk through deep spiritual valleys. And then, we hear those wonderful words of Scripture:

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (NKJV)

There are so many times when we need to hold God's hand in a symbolic, spiritual way, so many times when we just can't carry on on our own, times when we need to ask the Lord to hold our hand.

The hymn by Thomas A. Dorsey (1899-1993) says it so well:

Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand,
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.