“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8 (ESV)
A mother and daughter walk down a tree-lined street hand in hand. As they walk by a fenced yard, a dog barks and the little girl tightens her grip on mother’s hand. They approach a busy intersection and mom makes sure she is holding tight. A number of things come to mind. Mom knows that the dog is no threat; the girl may be unaware of the danger at the crossing. What the little girl may see as restraint is instead protection from harm. But this scene also prompts the question, “who’s holding whose hand?”
Holding to God’s hand is vital. Obedience to God is essential – but it is not just for obedience’s sake. If we can envision obedience as putting our hand in God’s hand with the care and protection that brings, what a difference it will make in our lives. Instead of wondering why some things are necessary while others are forbidden, we will understand that everything God commands is for our good. We sing about obedience and trust in this way – “Hand in Hand with Jesus.” We encourage one another to “Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand.” And in the song “He Leadeth Me,” we are reassured that, regardless of the circumstances, “Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.”
We must also realize that, as we hold to His hand, God is holding ours. Peter put it this way: “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). We could say on the meaning of this passage, “Holding, I am held.” That is, as I by faith submit to his will, I am protected by his power. Realizing that, we are more likely to trust him. Because, whenever we need him, he is there. Though others forsake us, he will not. He is always faithful.
The way we travel in life has fenced yards and busy intersections. It also has wild animals and wide chasms. But through it all, God is present, inviting us to put our hand in his. And, if we do, we also can say, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me ...”