Wisdom Holds to God’s Hand
Today as I ran errands I noticed several couples walking hand in hand. I reminisced and felt a little sad. I miss this. Walking together is certainly not possible. Hand holding is not easy, as Wyndham’s hands are tender to the touch and quite shaky. Even as I took this picture I heard, “ouch.”
Thankfully, we both have a strong, loving hand to hold. Wyndham knows the source of true strength. Wisdom holds to God’s hand.
I’m reminded of a well-loved song beginning with the words,
Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand,
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.
I need the strength and security of God’s unchanging hand. Every day I need to grasp that hand. While it’s not a physical hand, the spiritual effect of his presence with me is real for both of us. It’s not a “nice thought” to hold to God’s hand. It’s a necessity! His hand sustains me. I’m humbled that he stoops down to feel with me and make me something I can’t be without him—as he holds on to me!
You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great (Psalm 18:35).
The following thoughts are taken from a chapter in my book, “Every Day is a New Chance.” I share it in hopes that the thoughts (near the end) on Psalm 23 encourage you as much as they do me.
My friend: We’re going down the street. Hold onto Grammie’s hand.
My friend’s grandson: Gwammy, I’ll hold my own hand!!
(He then clasped his hands together.)
I had to laugh when I heard this exchange. Children often blatantly do the same things we do—only we are more subtle. We even know how to explain our actions in ways that make them sound quite noble. Such as:
God: You’re going through life. It can be tough. Follow me; hold onto my hand.
Me: I’ll hold my own hand. Thank you, but I don’t want to trouble you. (See how polite that sounds while telling God no?)
Why in the world would I think holding my own hand—depending on myself to direct my steps through life—would turn out well? I’m extremely shortsighted compared to God. He sees the big picture. I can only see a part.
Holding to God’s hand can at times feel childish, too restrictive for our exploration, or hurtful to our pride. Shouldn’t I be able to navigate my life on my own? Why should I need someone to guide me? After all, who can I trust but myself? These thoughts and questions can haunt the back roads of our hearts and minds, causing us to want to “hold our own hand.”
How do we know when we are trying to hold our own hand instead of God’s? Simply put, when we rely on ourselves and our own understanding. This can be seen when we fail to spend time in God’s word, seeking wisdom and instruction for our daily lives. When we fail to pray for daily wisdom and guidance. When we don’t live the lifestyle Jesus lived and calls us to live.
Certainly, if we hold to his hand we will follow him, and thus will be serving others. We will be teaching his truths. Frankly, holding to God’s hand doesn’t mean that I will be safe from pitfalls, tragedies, and suffering. These, my friends, are all along the landscape of the world in which we live. God did not create it this way; man distorted it this way.
Holding to God’s hand means we have solid footing when we encounter these challenges. It means we can feel his strength, comfort, and guidance. God has prepared something much better for us, but we still have to walk through this life. As time passes, I see and experience more of the challenges and suffering in life. However, I can’t imagine traveling this road without my faith—without holding to God’s hand. Holding to his hand, I feel free. I am secure. I am hopeful. I know where I’m ultimately headed. I’m full of peace and joy even amid pain, challenges, and suffering. Many of us are familiar with this beautiful passage of Scripture:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:1–4)
For years I pictured this verse in a way that was not reality for the desert shepherds of David’s time. I envisioned God taking me to rest in plush, green, rolling hills. I recently learned that the “green pastures” familiar to the writer’s landscape were actually far different from what I had seen in my mind’s eye. They were bits of grass scattered among the rocks of the barren desert hillsides, where condensation from the sea winds allowed sprigs of grass to grow. As the sheep followed their shepherd, he would lead them through these hillside “green pastures.”
The grass on the hillsides was just enough for their sustenance for the day.
The sheep had to follow the shepherd each day to have enough green pasture for their survival. Sheep left on their own would wander, searching for grass, and eventually die. Staying close to the shepherd was a matter of life and death. It’s really no different for me. If I wander from my shepherd, holding my own hand, I’ll end up spiritually starving. However tempting it is to rely on myself, I can never take myself to heaven. I can never produce the fruits of God’s Spirit in my life without them flowing from him.
May we have the wisdom to hold to God’s strong and loving hand.