Thursday, February 17, 2011

To Hold the Hand... To Hold the Heart

Isaiah 42:6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee.

Transliterated word for hold – “chazaq” verb – to strengthen, to prevail, to make strong, restore/give strength, to support, to repair, to encourage

Today I read the devotional “Hold onto the Hand” from “Joy and Strength” by Mary Wilder Tileston (see below). To be honest, I’ve don’t remember ever reading this verse in Isaiah before, but then again, sometimes when we need it God causes a particular verse or passage of Scripture jump out like a neon sign, doesn’t He?

Think about the last time you slipped your hand into the hand of someone you loved. It immediately makes both a physical and emotional connection. I’m an unabashedly unashamed lover of hand-holding, and my heart always is moved when I am walking along and see that special someone’s hand in front of/beside me extended in invitation to reach out and take hold. It is an invitation to intimacy. My smaller hand in his, fingers entwined – it is a feeling of warmth, of safety, of feeling very special and proud that I am walking with him – and it visually identifies our personal relationship to others.

When someone you know/love is hurting, how often have you reached out and held their hand? When you pray with a friend, do you often hold hands? At times of encouragement, have you leaned over and placed your hand on top of the one you wish to encourage? Again, it is a non-verbal way of saying you care, of offering your support, of saying “I’m here for you”. How often this one small act of giving yourself says so much more than words could proclaim?

Sometimes when I am praying, especially when I need to “feel” Jesus in a tangible way, I will reach out and pretend that I am holding His hand. It brings me great comfort, imagining that He is sitting next to me, my hand in His. Okay, maybe it sounds a little odd, but it works for me. In fact, on my way to work this morning, I was doing the “commuter prayers” and while talking to Jesus (yes, I chat away as if He was right there), I did in fact reach over the (seemingly) empty seat next to me, and envisioned my hand clasped in His.

There was a song in the 70s by Anderson Lynn called “Put Your Hand in the Hand” and it spoke of putting your hand in His hand, the One who stilled the waters and calmed the sea. May I encourage you to take a moment to reach out to Jesus, slip your hand in His, and know His love for you today?

Title: Hold on to the Hand
Author: Mary Wilder Tileston
Scripture References:
Isaiah 8:6
Devotion: Joy and Strength

DON'T be content with spending all your time on your faults, but try to get a step nearer to God. It is not He who is far away from us, but we from Him. If you ask me the best means to persevere, I would say, if you have succeeded in getting hold of Almighty God's hand, don't let it go.

Keep hold of Him by constantly renewing ejaculatory prayers to Him, acts of desire, and the seeking to please Him in little things.

Strive to be as a little child who, while its mother holds its hand, goes on fearlessly, and is not disturbed because it stumbles and trips in its weakness. So long as God holds you up by the will and determination to serve Him with which He inspires you, go on boldly and do not be frightened at your little checks and falls, so long as you can throw yourself into His arms in trusting love. Go there with an open, joyful heart as often as possible; if not always joyful, at least go with a brave and faithful heart.

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