He called her “Mom.” It seemed he was frightened by the rush-hour crowd exiting and entering the train. As we bobbed and weaved our way through, I watched them as they jostled their way to the exit. In a crowd like this, it was easy for a child to become separated from a parent. However, with her hand on his shoulder, this mother guided her son through this bustling mass of humanity before letting go of his shoulder and firmly holding his hand. If he held her hand then there was a strong possibility that he could let go and get lost in the crowd. Instead, with her holding his, he was secure. She would not let him go.
As the scene unfolded before me, it occurred to me that as we make our way through our Christian journey, we often speak of holding on to God. Yet how many times when we are overwhelmed and worn down by situations that crowd our lives, have we let go of His hand? For most of us, this letting go was not intentional. It just seemed to happen. Then we doubt, we worry, we fear, and we become overwhelmed. Like the apostle Peter, distracted by the howling winds and the waves while walking in the dark on the lake towards Jesus whom he could not see but whose voice he had heard, we begin to sink (see Matthew 14:22-32). For some of us, we haven’t started to sink, we are fully underwater! Like a child who has lost his hold on his parent’s hand, we feel helpless and afraid.
Because of our inability to consistently hold on to His hand, we are reminded of God’s words to His chosen people during one of their times of helplessness and fear: “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). Read the verse again, slowly. While it was a promise made to them, by demonstrating His ability to do this, we too can ask Him to do the same for us. As we make our way through the crowd, so to speak, we can ask Him: “Lord, if I hold you the storms of life may pull me away from you, but if you hold me, nothing or no one can separate me from you so please, hold my hand!” When He holds us, no matter what comes our way, we are secure; we are safe. It is no wonder when extoling the virtues of God, the psalmist ended the 48th psalm with the words: “For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even unto death” (Psalm 48:14).
In its commentary on the verse, the Biblical Illustrator states, “The way of righteousness is not the most pleasant at all times for flesh and blood, but it is always the safest. . . . The way of holiness, the way to heaven, is so strange to a person who has defiled himself with sin that but little progress could be made without a guide. So the Lord tenderly takes each traveler by the hand.” In your walk with the Lord, who is holding whose hand? If you are holding on to His, will you let go and then allow Him to hold yours? You may not know where He will lead you but can trust His guiding hand. Like that mother guiding her son through the crowd, He will lead you and me safely in the way we should go.