“Now son, we are going to have to be real quiet when we get to the woods. I will get my big shotgun and you will get your BB gun and we will walk as quietly as we can to this special place where there are a lot of squirrels. When we get there, you will have to sit down against a tree and be real quiet and still, not moving anything but your eyes. If you be real still, we will see and shoot some squirrels for supper and we may even see some deer, wild hogs or even a coyote.” (I think I would have been better off leaving off the part about the “wild hogs” and “coyotes”).
As my grandson Bryant and I made our way into the thick woods late that afternoon, I led the way trying to push away all the thorn bushes and limbs that would cause his little legs (and his eyes) problems. I couldn’t help but notice that whenever I stopped to push a limb away, he would be right there bumping into me as he nervously tried to stay just as close as he could. Not really paying as much attention as I should have been, I suddenly stepped into a gopher hole and sunk almost to my hip. Bryant yelled out in a very loud and panicky voice “Daddy you okay?” Well, that was enough to scare away any wildlife within a quarter mile, but to make things worse, from that point on, he became more and more scared and kept saying, “Daddy, wait for me” though I was only two steps ahead of him. I soon realized he was not going to be quiet until he was holding my hand.
I remember when my children and my grandchildren were just learning how to walk, they would hold on to my finger to steady themselves. As they mastered that skill and could walk by themselves, I still made them hold my finger or my hand when they were walking in a crowd, around water, close to the roadway or in any other potentially dangerous area where they could get lost or hurt. I remember holding my own daddy’s hand the same way, and the security that came from knowing he was there.
What I did not realize until I became a daddy myself was that when I was holding on to his finger, he was holding on to not just my hand, but my arm as well. There was no way I could escape his grasp nor was anyone else going to snatch me away from him. He had a hold on me that was secure and that kept me safe. I know that because that is just the way I held on to my children and now my grandchildren. Not necessarily because my daddy intentionally taught me that skill, but because that is what a loving father does who knows what is best for the child and wants to protect them from the harm of getting lost or hurt. My children and grandchildren may think they are safe when holding on to my finger or my hand, but I know they are safe when I am holding theirs, because I am always holding on the tightest!
The Psalmist in Psalm 73 expressed a similar fear or feeling of lostness when he found himself having wandered away and taken his eyes off of God, his provider and his redeemer. He found himself looking at the apparent prosperity and easy life of the arrogant and the wicked in the world, who all seemed to have all they wanted and seemed to be free of the everyday worries and burdens of life that he and every other righteous man faced. He saw their wickedness, their rejection and mocking of God, and was envious of their worldly success. After all, he had kept his own heart pure, he had washed his hands in innocence, but he was plagued by suffering every morning.
But, then in vs17, he said when he went in the “sanctuary of God”, when he spend time alone in the presence of God and opened his heart up to Him and looked into His Word and remembered His holiness, His righteousness, and His consistency in never forsaking His people, he saw things in proper perspective. He admitted to God in verses 21-22 that “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute force before you.” But when he found his way back to God, he went on to say: “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.” You see, the psalmist realized that when he was holding God’s hand, and even when he wanted to turn loose, God the Father was really holding on to Him—He was holding on to his right hand and his grip was not about to slip or fail. God reminded him that he was loved and the he was safe in His love and safe in His hands. God would hold on to him in this life and all of its troubles and He would hold on to him as He took him into Glory, into everlasting life in Heaven, where all of his troubles would forever be behind him.
The psalmist went on to say: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but my God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” He reminds me of the same promise that Jesus made in John 16:33: “I have told you these things so that ‘in me’ you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But fear not! I have overcome the world.”
Many today are facing trials, opposition, tribulations, sickness, loss and even death, and it is easy to get caught up looking at ‘mountains’ or the troubles of this life. But, Jesus tells us in Hebrews 12 to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Give all of yourself to Jesus. Keep your eyes on Him. He will take hold of you and never let you go, and one day, He will take you on to Glory!