In God’s Right Hand
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
At particular moments in our lives, all of us face bewildering circumstances. Counselors tell us that the most common problems in marriages are money, sex, in-laws, and children. To that list, we can add an array of work-related stresses and personal difficulties. From time to time, we say, to no one in particular, “I just don’t know what to do!”
We often turn to family and friends for help, but God invites us to “go to the top” to get His assistance. In this verse, God explains that we don’t have to wade through a phone tree to make a connection with Him. He doesn’t ‘t email us a link we can go to for the answer to our problems or send out a technician to fix them. He has promised His support-in person!
What an amazing promise! The God of the universe reminds us of the contract He made, first with Moses-“I will be your God, and you will be my people” (Jeremiah 7:23 NLT)- and it applies to us, too. We belong to him, and he has committed himself to strengthen, lead, support, and uphold us. To make his point completely clear, God finishes with the flourish. He doesn’t keep us at arms length as He helps us: He holds us close and secure in his right hand. It doesn’t get any more personal than that.
“The only thing we have to fear is fear it self.” Franklin Roosevelt
Often when we speak of God holding us we are referencing Him holding us in a crisis. But God holds us when life is good too. It’s true that children need the comforting care of their parents when they are hurt or scared but they also need them to be involved in their joys and celebrations. A healthy relationship is about both.
Often we make God our rescuer and He certainly is that but He is much more than the One who swoops in and saves us from destruction in the nick of time. He’s much more than the superheroes such as Superman or Batman. When you watch those movies you discover that the only time they appear is when someone is in trouble. Many of us view God the same way. We want to know that if we are in a storm He is holding us in His hands.
Suppose that in our relationship with our children they only came to us when they were in trouble. Wouldn’t we miss those moments when they crawl up in our laps not because they’re hurt or scared but because they just want to be with us? Isn’t it nice when they just run up and snuggle up beside you without any request or demand?
In our relationship with God we must begin to see that God really loves us and wants to be with us. Have you ever wondered why Jesus picked up that little child and sat him on His lap? The Bible doesn’t indicate that the child was crying or that he was hurt or that he was afraid. It seems to indicate that this child had come near Jesus, perhaps gazing with rapt attention, hanging on to His words when Jesus just reached down and scooped him up and set him on His lap. I think that Christ was teaching us about relationship with God.
Many of us see our relationship with God as servant/master. In other words we feel close to God when we are serving in some capacity. Others see God as Redeemer, bailing us out, getting us out of the trouble we’ve gotten ourselves in or fixing what we messed up. Some see God as Judge, scolding us or punishing us when we sin. Others see Him as an absentee parent. He brought us into the kingdom and then left us on our own to figure life out. God is our master but we are more than mere servants. God does redeem us but He’d rather we walk in the liberty as free children. God does train and discipline us but for our sake instead of His. And He is never an absentee parent. From the moment we become, He is with us, “never leaving nor forsaking” us.
I think what Jesus was trying to teach us with that little child is that God is always holding us in His right hand. When the sun is shining bright, He is watching over us, keeping us from harm or danger much like the parent keeping an eye on their child while they are enjoying the park playground. When the dark times come, the frightful times, like that parent who pulls us close and calms our fears until we can rest and sleep the sleep of peace, God holds us. Like the parent, who picks up the child who has fallen and skinned a knee, who soothes and cleans and bandages the scrape, God holds us in the hurt and pain that life brings. In every moment and at all times He is there.
Some children pull away from the protective watchfulness of parents, wishing to be independent and on their own. They have no realization of the potential danger. Some children run away when they’re scared or hurt never realizing that they could find comfort if they ran home to mom or dad. Some refuse to let their parent wash or bandage their scrape. They prefer the pain over the care.
In the same way we sometimes pull away from God’s protective care, thinking that we can take care of ourselves on our own. We fail to recognize the “roaring lion” waiting to devour us. Sometimes the hurt or pain of life drives us away from God instead of toward Him. Maybe in some way we blame Him for letting us get hurt never realizing that He wants to heal our hurt. As a matter of fact only He can truly heal our brokenness. Sometimes we let our fear push us farther away from safety. Like a drowning person we may even attack our rescuer in our panicked moment.
But God will always hold us if we will just choose to be like the little child and crawl up in His lap, trusting the care and strength of His arms.
Dr. John Thompson