Life’s Lessons

Who holds your hand?

Even in retirement, Monday is always a busy day. Monday’s time is not negotiable. That’s the day Kelly and I visit the Little Sisters of the Poor home in Oregon, Ohio. That alone makes it a meaningful day because many residents eagerly await our visit. It’s also the day (or evening) in which I try to get this column written. Deadline is Tuesday, actually it’s 2 p.m. Tuesday, but I really hate to push the deadline so I try to get it done earlier than that. So, when Monday afternoon or evening comes and I’m still drawing a blank, I get rather uncomfortable.

I never know what is going to trigger the thoughts for that particular week but I’m always on the lookout. This time, I wasn’t even in that thought mode – the song we were singing in Sunday morning worship struck me right between the eyes.

We had already sung “Victory in Jesus” (how much better can it get?), had the scripture reading and pastoral prayer, and were now joining our hearts in another song. This one always touches me but on this day, for some reason, the words really grabbed my heart.

The second verse reads in part … “There the sun is always shining, There no tear will dim the eye, At the ending of the rainbow, Where the mountains touch the sky…” Those last two phrases spoke to me loud and clear. Having lived in the Kentucky mountains for many years, my mind pictured the end of the rainbow as the mountains touch the sky – a view so enjoyable from the picture windows of my home perched at the top of the mountainside overlooking the valley.

Then the third verse – “I don’t know about tomorrow, It may bring me poverty. But the one who feeds the sparrow, Is the One who stands by me.” That part is history for me – it began at the end of a work shift when the boss stepped on the man-trip bus and announced that we were all to report to the office immediately after our showers to pick up our checks. The job site was closed! Poverty? Yes, I’m familiar with it.

Going on, “And the path that be my portion, May be thru the flame or flood, But His presence goes before me, And I’m covered with His blood.” Praise God! I’m covered, cleansed and encouraged in His blood. At times over the next more than two years, it was hard to hang on to the promises we so glibly sing about on Sunday morning. Though I knew God had it all under control, though I knew there was absolutely nothing He couldn’t handle, trying to hang on to a working knowledge of that day after day, job application after job application, and with unemployment benefits at their end, was severely taxing.

Yes, it was hard. I learned to pay attention to the words in the songs I sing. In fact, I had to learn to sing all over again because in the face of those daily, weekly, monthly struggles, it was hard to sing, hard to have any heart for singing.

The chorus to that song? Listen to the words, “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”

Maybe you’ve been in the same or similar situation, maybe you’re there now – rest assured He does still hold tomorrow and He does still hold your hand. He does still care. There is still victory in Him. But sometimes we have to walk all the way through the tough times to the other side before we can find that victory, before we can remember it is Jesus holding our hand.

When you can once again see through eyes of faith, you will find there truly is victory in Jesus, and it is He who holds your hand. God bless you today and every day.

Who holds your hand?