Hold My Hand

March 23, 2010
Seasons of Joy
May 17, 2010

Hold My Hand

“Hold my hand!” he says reaching down for her as she navigates some rugged terrain on the nature trail. Afterward, she launches ahead running down the trail about as well as an 18 month old can with arms swinging and legs awkwardly propelling her down the path. She is enamored with her environment. There is nothing Grace likes better than a long “wok” in a pretty place. But this Florida nature trail is not without its challenges and danger spots for a little one. There are areas where tree roots create something like mountains for someone three feet high, and places where the trail drops off into a wilderness that would be cliff-like for an 18-month old. But Gracie knows no fear- only the heart of adventure and an intense drive to assert “I can do it myself!” It is pretty amazing to watch her tackle these obstacles. Seeing her maneuver, problem solve, and navigate the rough patches has us both tickled and in awe.
To Doug and I watching Grace on this 1.5 mile adventure was nothing short of incredible. I am sure developmentally Grace is no different than any other 18 month old, but we are captivated by watching her learn, explore and problem-solve in her world. Grace is a natural explorer and fearless adventurer and all too often we see the will of her independent nature flare up. More often than not when faced with a challenging obstacle she would prefer to problem solve and do it herself, and when we ask “Do you want some help?” we hear “NO-No-no!” as she pushes our helping hand away.As we pressed into our “hike” there were some areas of dangerous drop-offs with railing fine enough to catch a “big person” but nowhere near adequate to stop a toddler from tumbling over the side. Doug would say “Let me help you, you have to hold my hand.” And again he would be rebuffed with the independent streak “NO-No-no!” Having no idea of the danger, Grace would refuse him and launch a small tantrum, until finally consenting to walking with her hand safely tucked in his.Eventually there were moments when she realized she could not navigate an area alone. She would look up, reach her hand high and ask “Hep! Peees!” Then, all of a sudden in the grasp of her father’s hand, climbing over that obstacle was not so daunting, navigating that “cliff” was not so frightening, nor so difficult. But as soon as she was “over the hump” she would let go and was off running on her own again. Doug turned to me and said, “It’s just like our walk with the Lord.” “What do you mean?” I asked. Quite astutely he explained; “When the road is not rough and everything in life is going fine we run off on our own, and we forget about God… until we get in a bind and really need him- then we call for help….” How profound. How true.Even seasoned, strong, Bible-study-going, Sunday-school-teaching, quiet-time prayer warriors can admit how easy it is to forget, and start running on our own steam, doing our own thing in our default auto-pilot mode. In our flesh we so easily forget that we are always in need of His hand, His help, His grasp.Now, I can see as humans in the world interacting in relationships with others there is a strong need for striking a balance between independence and dependence. In our relationships we need just enough independence to stand with security and draw healthy boundaries. But, too much independence makes us aloof, unattached, inaccessible, and unapproachable, making us self-centered and ineffective for God’s kingdom. Likewise, we need just enough dependence to know that we cannot do this life alone, in order to connect with others, and with a community that will help us flourish and grow, and one that we can likewise contribute to. But, too much dependence makes us weak; we become a burden rather than a blessing. Our neediness becomes exhausting for others, and once again our self-centeredness makes us ineffective for the kingdom.

But while our interactions with others in the world require this delicate balance between dependence and independence, in our relationship with the Father there is no such thing as independence. There is no such thing as not needing his help. We are depraved in a broken world, and in our spiritual poverty, even in the moments where everything in life is “just fine” we still need to hold His hand. We need His help.

Any moment asserting independence from the Lord, even unconsciously, is a moment of rebellion and defiance at its worst or foolishness and inconsiderate at its least. If we remembered to hold his hand all the way, every day; how much safer, sweeter and saner our walks would be indeed. He is our help! And His voice gently and continually pleads, “Hold my hand…”

So, I want to be a little more like Gracie when she realizes she needs a hand. Only I want to realize I need that hand every moment, of every hour, of every day. It is in the grasp of our Father’s hand that every moment is secure, every step is protected, and every adventure is all the wiser in its direction. Let us reach up toward him, tilt back our heads asking “Hep, peese!” and we will find his loving arms already outstretched to us, waiting…

I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.”
Psalm 103