It seemed a good idea at the time. It began late one night as I changed the bed sheets while watching an episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” It was a funny episode. Somewhere between the twisting and tugging of sheets and my laughter during the show—I pulled one of my ribs out of place. I’ve done this before so am familiar with the pain. I knew right away what had happened.
Grimacing as I made my way down the stairs to the dark basement in order to throw the sheets into the washer—I had an idea. In the door frame that leads from a room in the basement to my washing machine hangs (what I thought was) a pull-up bar. I often hang semi-dry clothes on this bar to finish drying. I conjectured, for some insane reason, that perhaps if I hung from this bar I could somehow self-adjust my painful displaced rib. Like I said, it seemed a good idea at the time.
Turns out it was not actually a pull up bar, but instead a “tension bar” that is meant to hold nothing heavier than a few shirts on hangers. So, as I jumped up to the bar in the darkness I immediately came crashing down into the laundry basket below, landing awkwardly on my left arm and spraining my left thumb. The good news was that the rib pain seemed less in comparison to the writhing pain in my now huge, darkened, and throbbing thumb.
Life can be like this. While trying to “fix” something that feels uncomfortable we make things worse if we grasp something not meant to hold us. Fear is stifling. Anxiety can be crippling. Life circumstances often weigh us down. When difficulties in life happen, what do you grasp for? What do you hang on to?
What others think of you? Your job? Your bank account? Your strength and physical appearance? Your identity as a parent? Your friends?
Will these hold you into eternity? Will they hold you up when others disappoint? When health fails? When kids grow up? When hard times come? When we breathe our last?
If we hold on to things that are not secured by God’s strong hand, we will eventually crash to the ground, sustaining casualties far superseding sprained thumbs. Casualties with eternal consequences. Nothing, no one but God is strong enough to hold us “into” eternity.
When I’m fearful, insecure, or anxious—God’s truths are able to hold me. His truths are backed up with power—from the creation of the world, to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, to the way he fills my soul.
When I feel my hands are slipping, nothing helps me more than reading and meditating on truths from God, and truths about God.
When you feel weary…hold on to God’s word, his truths:
Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand,
through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:1-2) NRSV (emphasis added)
He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
With all these things in mind, dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. (2 Thessalonians 2:14-14) NLT (emphasis added)
Hold on to the hope and confidence of eternal life:
Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12) NLT
We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (Hebrews 3:14) NIV (emphasis added)
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23) NIV (emphasis added)
Holding to God’s truths, eternal life, confidence in God, and hope will keep us from falling.
When it gets hard to hold on, never forget that we are not grasping a metal bar—but the hand of a strong and loving God. He will help us, for he delights in us. He is plenty strong to hold us, as long as WE don’t let go.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. (Psalm 18:16-19) NIV
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. (Isaiah 41:13) NIV