by Jefferson David Tant
In many of our songbooks, there is a song by the title of this article, and the words were written by Jennie Wilson.
The song’s first stanza says,
Time is filled with swift transition
Naught of earth unmoved can stand
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.
And a good sermon by one of our Broadmoor church’s elders, Mike Roy, was on this same subject. Building on his lesson I want to give some thoughts that came to mind while listening to the lesson.
I am quite sure that when we are downtown or shopping somewhere, and we are in a crowd, we have seen a parent (usually a mother) and child walking hand in hand among the crowd. It’s not that the child can’t stand on his or her own two feet and walk, but there are certain factors that cause the two to join hands. Let’s consider them.
Obviously, five-year-olds don’t know the way around town, how to find this store or that store. Oh, they may know the way to the candy store, but the grocery store, the drugstore, the clothing store? Probably not. So a mother’s hand will guide the child.
Is there a Biblical application? How about Jeremiah 10:23: “I know, O LORD, that a man's way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.” Then Proverbs 20:24: “Man's steps are ordained by the LORD, How then can man understand his way?”
A while back my wife and I drove from Atlanta, Georgia to Portland, Oregon, a distance of some 4,174 miles. We traveled in areas where we had never been before. How did we make it? We had a map.
And God has given us a life map, called the Bible. It’s sad that in our nation, probably a good majority of homes have a Bible, but not many people really follow the directions God has given. They are content to let their church doctrines and creeds lead them. Christ warned about false teachers and blind guides.
“But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men'" (Matthew 15:9).
“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit" (Matthew 15:14).
“for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes" (Revelation 7:17).
Safety is a part of holding on to a mother’s hand. That works in two ways. For one thing, it will keep them from being separated in the crowd and the child wandering off and getting lost. Furthermore, if someone tries to snatch the child and run away, a firm grip will prevent the child from being taken away.
In various passages, the Lord has promised us safety. “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
“Hold Thou My Hand” is a song written by Fanny J. Crosby. The first stanza reads:
Hold Thou my hand: so weak I am, and helpless.
I dare not take one step without Thine aid.
Hold Thou my hand, for then, O loving Savior,
No dread of ill shall make my soul afraid.
Christ made a promise to those who will cling to God’s hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand” (John 10:29).
The world around us presents many challenges, and there are great numbers of people who live in fear. The Muslim extremists are slaughtering thousands of believers in Christ from day to day in other parts of the world. And in our own nation, there is fear in many places because of the violence that is widespread. But there is a remedy for this, and that is found in Christ, who comforts us in all our affliction. Is there a place where Christians can find comfort? Assuredly so.
Did you ever see a small child who was frightened run to a parent and grab hold? Why do they do that? Because they know they will be comforted.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4) “This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your word has revived me” (Psalm 119:50).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ” (II Corinthians 1:3-5).
Have you ever seen the smile on a child’s face when they see a mother or father from whom they have been separated for a while? It may be when the little one gets off the school bus and runs to embrace a parent who is waiting. Then they may walk hand in hand to their home.
Look what David said about being in God’s presence. “Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fulness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalms 16:11).
Yes, we live in a world filled with troubles, sorrows, and trials, but God says, ‘Here, take my hand and walk with me, and put a smile on your face.” God does not want us going about with a sad look on our face looking like we just smoked a pickle. Some allow their trials to give them a sad countenance and the “Woe is me” look on their faces.
The word “joy” is found in the Bible in 170 verses, so there must be some application to us, even as it was in the days of Israel.
“Moreover, King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to sing praises to the LORD with the words of David and Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with joy, and bowed down and worshiped” (II Chronicles 29:30).
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalm 16:11)
Yes, there are many trials and tribulations we may have in this life, but we anticipate what is to come. “And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (I Peter 1:8).
“Hold to God’s unchanging hand.”