“For 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
This is my favorite Bible verse; one I cling to almost daily.
A great picture comes to mind when I think of God taking my hand. The picture is not always the same, sometimes he is comforting me, sometimes guiding me, and other times giving me strength…but it is always just what I need.
Picture a baby reaching for and clasping your hand. The baby works hard to focus on the hand, and after repeated tries, she finally gets hold of your finger. What a special bond of trust and love is being built there. It takes time and patience, but you rejoice when they finally have your finger.
I think of all that I am learning and need to learn. I am thankful for a heavenly Father who is there to provide me the security I need to grow. I am thankful for His patience when I am trying to reach out for Him. I am thankful for a God who wants me to know and discover Him.
Picture a parent holding a toddler’s hand. You hold their hands as they learn to take those first steps so they don’t fall. You hold their hands when they get their shots, walk beside you in a store, or cross a street. You don’t want them hurt or lost. You want to protect them as they try new things.
I am thankful for a God who is strong enough to keep me safe and cares about what happens to me. He holds my hand when I am hurt or scared. He is just there beside me.
Picture a parent taking a child’s hand. Sometimes they do not want to go where you are going, so you make them hold your hand and stay with you. They may not see the big picture, and you need them to just come and trust you.
I am thankful for a God who takes my hand and guides me in the right direction; who will take my hand out of discipline because He wants me to go the way He is going. I am thankful for a God who sees the big picture that I cannot see.
Picture a teen holding hands with their first love. The excitement and thrill of just holding hands. Your heart is racing, and you feel acceptance. Everything it right because you are holding hands and experiencing the closeness for the first time.
I am thankful for God’s true love and acceptance and I hope I will always return to my first love…Jesus.
Picture an older married couple holding hands. There is real love and acceptance there. Not just a feeling, but a lifetime of commitment. They are inseparable and together they have been through many ups and downs. The years have developed that comfortable hand hold.
I am thankful for a God who gives unconditional love and who accepts me for who I am. I am thankful for a God who will stay with me through the good times and bad. A God who promises to never leave me nor forsake me.
The Lord takes my hand. He is there when I need Him. He is there to say “I will help you.” With His help, there is nothing I cannot do.
Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. John 20:11-18
Do you ever read the Bible and wonder how those people could be so blind? How could the Israelites see God bring great plagues down on Egypt and divide the Red Sea, and yet still make a golden calf to worship? How could Solomon be so wise and yet let his wives lead him to worship false gods? How could Jonah receive God’s word and then think he could run and hide from Him? How could Judas spend years with Jesus and then betray Him?
That’s how I always felt when I read this passage. How could Mary turn around and see Jesus and not realize it was Him? After all, He had released her from demonic possession. She had spent time with Him and the disciples. She was there with his mother when He was crucified.
Mary didn’t recognize Jesus because the Jesus she was looking for was dead. She was looking for a corpse to grieve over not a walking, talking Jesus. Not a Jesus who was alive and could speak to her. There were signs…an empty tomb and even two angels, but still she wasn’t looking for a living Jesus but the missing corpse. That is why she couldn’t recognize Him even when He spoke to her.
It is easy to look back at moments like these and find fault in Mary’s faith. She should have seen that He was alive and right there beside her. But then how often do I do the same thing? Am I expecting a living Jesus to be part of my life today? To see and understand what I am going through? Do I expect Him to make a difference in my circumstances? I’m afraid I often don’t see Him right there working in my life because I am not looking for a living Jesus but a distant, uninvolved one. I might pray to Him one moment, and completely forget to ask His help moments later. He may be right there guiding my steps but all I see are closed doors and disappointment.
When I am able to grasp that He is right here with me and He is alive and active in my life, then I more clearly hear His voice and see what He is doing. He is active. He can give me the strength I need to get through whatever the day holds. He is speaking to me.
I hope you will find Jesus alive and working in your life. Look for Him and I am sure you will see Him there.
“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29