I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. ~ Psalm 16:8
All of us remember on January 28, 1986 the horror of seeing the Space Shuttle Challenger explode over the Atlantic Ocean. What you may not know is that seconds after the explosion the personal recorder of Christa McAuliffe captured another astronaut saying to her, “Give me your hand.”
Whose hand are you holding these days?
Through the person and work of Jesus, the living God takes frail and hopeless people like you and me by the hand and leads us through all of our uncertain “todays,” into our ultimate “tomorrows” with God forever—and doesn’t ever let us go.
About twenty-five years ago I took my oldest son Cole on his first backpacking trip. It was dark on the Rainbow Trail that traversed the Sangre De Christo Mountains in Colorado. Six-year-old Cole followed close behind me. After two miles he was struggling to keep up. I had to slow down. He kept asking if he could hold my hand, but the trail was so narrow he only could walk right behind me.
So, I grabbed a little stick for him to hold on to one end and me to hold the other—I chose one that would fit his little hand, that was not too heavy for his spindly arms, one that fit just right— then we started to sing a children’s song called Father Abraham over and over again.
Time flew as we sang, laughed and marched in the dark along that trail. Before we knew it, we were at the Lone Tree Meadow where we planned to set up camp and fish in some beaver ponds.
His uncertainty was intensified because he was little, and it was dark, but it was put at some ease because he was connected to his father—through a piece of wood.
How do I need to hang on to the hand of God in these uncertain days?
Are you concerned about physical issues that make tomorrow an uncertainty? You need to hold on to the hand of God that will never let you go. Are you slogging through marriage issues that make tomorrow an uncertain? You need to decide today to hold on with white-knuckle tenacity to the hand of God. Perhaps living alone in your latter years is not what you imagined when you walked down the aisle of a church many years ago. Hold on and find your shelter in the strong hands of God and know that because of the empty tomb every single uncertain “todays” and “tomorrows” are secure in the strong hand of God.
Maybe you have a child or a grandchild that has given up on faith and the church. Hold on to your Father’s hand and remember you once walked in darkness and your life was filled with uncertainty—and yet you found your way back to faith and consistently are found worshipping the Living God.
Do you remember Charles Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities? It’s about Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay. They both love the same young woman, but she marries Charles. They get married and start having children, but this is the French Revolution, so Charles Darnay is arrested, taken to prison, and awaits his execution.
I’m paraphrasing, but on the night before his execution, Sydney Carton, who looks quite a bit like Charles Darnay, sneaks into the prison and says, “Look, Charles. You have a wife. You have a child. Let’s switch places. Let’s exchange clothes and I’ll die in your place.” Charles Darnay says, “No! I will never let you do such a thing!”
Sydney Carton drugs him and he puts his clothes on him. He has some people take Charles out, and he assumes his place in the prison, waiting to be executed.
There is a young woman, a seamstress, who is also about to be executed, and she knew Charles Darnay previously. When she hears he’s there, she seeks him out and starts talking to him. She starts asking if he remembers this, and if he remembers that.
Of course, Sydney Carton is looking away, hoping she doesn’t look too closely, and suddenly she sees. She realizes it’s not Charles Darnay, and her eyes get big, and she says, “Are you dying for him?” He says, “Shhh. Yes, and for his wife and children.”
She says, “Stranger, I have been feeling I am not going to be able to face my death, but could I hold your hand? Because if someone as brave and as loving as you held my hand, I think I’ll be okay.”
They hold hands through the night. And this young seamstress goes to her death with courage and composed peace.
Whose hand are you holding?
May you live your life with hope because you are connected to your heavenly Father through a piece of wood called the cross.