The other day, I crossed the street with my toddler. My little one is 18 months old and in the dangerous stage of toddlerhood. As I type even now, he's running around with a bowl over his head, testing the limits of his senses and bumping recklessly into the couch. He's eager to run and walk freely on his own but not yet old enough to recognize danger. As we crossed the street that day, I tightly gripped his hand. I was not relying on my son's ability to hold onto me. I had a firm grasp on him.
Since I'm the grown-up, I know how to cross a busy street. I know to look both ways. I know if a car is coming and when to wait, but my sweet toddler has yet to learn these lessons. He is blissfully unaware of so many of the dangers in this world, and he trusts me to take care of him. Even when my son turns four or five and becomes aware of the danger of oncoming cars, I will still be there to protect him. I will hold his hand, look both ways, and help him cross the street safely because he is my child.
If I protect my child in this way, how much more does our heavenly Father protect us! God is the perfect parent who sovereignly designs our steps. He holds us fast, and His heavenly grip is secure. He's not letting us go. Even when we try to run away, thinking we know better, He gently calls us back. Even when we will grow and mature, we are never outside His loving gaze.
But often, we don't feel God's hand holding ours. We feel alone. Life hurts, and it feels like we're going to fall with no one to protect us. We feel like the Lord has left us to cross a multi-lane highway, blindfolded and alone. It feels like God has abandoned us, and this walk of faith is for nothing. Perhaps we envy those who seem to have it so easy, who don't have to give money to the church and can date whoever they choose. We look around and think this walk of faith costs us more than it's giving us.
Asaph, the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 73, felt this too. Read his words:
God is indeed good to Israel, to the pure in heart. But as for me, my feet almost slipped; my steps nearly went astray. For I envied the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm v 1-2).
As he looked around, Asaph felt alone. He noticed that the wicked were prospering while he struggled. Where was God? Had God abandoned him? Why did God not shower blessings over His people? Asaph even wondered, is all this faith in vain? He said:
"Did I purify my heart and wash my hands in innocence for nothing? For I am afflicted all
day long and punished every morning" (v 13-14).
I don't know about you, but I find that very relatable. Sometimes it's easy to envy those living their best lives now, eating, drinking, traveling, and spending money without biblical convictions. It wasn't until Asaph looked to eternity that he understood the big-picture. Only then did he understand that the wicked will be wiped away, but those who trust in God are promised eternal life with Him. Asaph then concludes:
"Yet I am always with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me up in glory. Who do I have in heaven but you? And I desire nothing on earth but you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever" (v 23-26, emphasis added).
I love that. At the end of the day, who do I have but God? He is the one who guides us and holds us. He secures our future glory, and He is always with us. As for me? I am weak. I may be anxious. I may wonder if God is for me. I will doubt God's goodness. I will try to run away. My flesh and my heart will fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. He holds me up, and He secures my future, even when I can't feel Him. Even when my foot slips, his faithful love supports me (Psalm 94:18).
God holds our right hand–even when the world feels out of control and the wicked seem to be prospering. When God feels far, and we can't sense His protection, in trust: He is near. He plans our steps and protects us on the way (2 Thessalonians 3:2-3). He is our strength and our portion. God allows us to endure a moment of sorrow for an eternity of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17). But even then, God promises to use every drop of pain for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28). And one day, we will dwell with Him forever, finally able to see Him face to face. There will be no more pain or struggle. He will fulfill our deepest longings and take us up in glory. And until that day, God will hold our hands and keep us from falling.
God knows our frame. He knows we're weak and cannot cross the dangerous paths of life on our own. He holds our right hand and will lead us safely home.