So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV).
The tip of my toe slipped or maybe the tips of my fingers… I can’t remember which. Either way, I was falling, and all rational thought and instruction flew from my mind as I careened toward the climbing wall.
Outstretched legs and feet would have cushioned the blow, but they remained dangling, and I crashed into the wall, my shin and right arm smacking hard against hand and foot holds.
Pain throbbed in rhythm with my racing heart, but my harness, and the strength of my belayer, kept me suspended—a more attractive alternative to laying on the ground with splayed and broken limbs. I loosened my grip on the rope and released the tension in my muscles, relaxing into the harness as my partner slowly lowered me.
Much like this day at the climbing gym, I precariously try to balance my life, strain to grab things out of reach, and exhaust myself as I work in my own strength. In doing so, I’ve crashed, I’ve fallen, I’ve sustained injuries.
And I’ve known the security of being held in the righteous right hand of God.
Like the relationship between child and parent, this is experienced two ways.
Reactive: He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6b). God holds the seat of our bicycle, supporting our first attempt at riding without training wheels, but we push His hand away with a defiant declaration, “I can do it by myself.” After we crash, God our Father picks us up with soothing hands. We’re held on His lap, wrapped in His warm embrace. He wipes away our tears and kisses what stings.
Proactive: But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content (Psalm 131:2). We rest, supported in our heavenly Father’s arms. We fix our eyes on His; every circumstance of concern fades as we reach out our hand, not to grasp or to wiggle free, but to touch His face and memorize every contour.
While God promises to hold us both ways, as our good Father, He prefers we remain as the weaned child.
In this world you will have trouble (John 16:33). Is God picking you up and dusting you off, or are you content as you remain in His embrace? If you’re like me, you fluctuate between the two.
Perhaps today we didn’t allow our Father to hold us like a weaned child, but thanks be to God for His amazing grace, He will keep offering, and we can learn to be HELD.