Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Way You Hold Me

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139: 7-10
 
He chuckled. The stranger.
 
"Oh she's gonna hold you, huh?"
 
The question was directed at me. I laughed meekly and remembered that kid language is its own language, and that which is so familiar in my children's speech might sound ridiculous to outsiders.

"You can hold me in a minute", I told my two-year-old as I finished rummaging through our bag. I zipped the bag and gathered her into my arms. We waited in line behind the chuckling man.
 
I chuckle too. Especially at children. It isn't always intentional, but part of me laughs relief when I witness other families enduring the same rascally antics from their own children as I do mine.

And in the throes of childish woes my soul cries out, "I want to hold you, Lord."

My grasp on the Father resembles a toddler's. I cling franticly to His neck and say, "I will go where you want, just don't leave me." He holds me, His child.

But the truth is, my strength cannot hold me to Him any longer than my daughter's grasp could cleave her to me without my arms around her. It's simple physics. It's law. Gravity.

And we all would fall.

Other times my holding is nothing more than manipulation and perhaps even flailing. I butter my Father up. "Oh how I love You, Lord of my life... Now if You could just put me down. Just one second. I'll be right back." His refusal is my undoing and I flail and kick and scream. And here lies a curious tension. Even when I get my way, and go my own way, I am never without His presence. I am broken by bad choices and blame all others but myself. I throw my fit until my strength is gone, and He carries a sleeping, weeping child.

Most recently I've been reminded of another time. A darker prayer:
Lord, just don't let me go, because I can't hold on to You any more.

The Lord was carrying His spiritually comatose daughter... so near death.

Death is never an isolated incident. It ripples into lives, no matter how briefly it existed.

Death is never satisfied until it has swallowed us whole.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?

Did he ask the question because he had tried it?

8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
Had he ascended the mountaintop? Sung with the heavenly host?
Walked through the valley?
Stumbled in the darkness?

9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Did he search high and low, deep and wide, for another answer? Any answer?

10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
Did the Lord ever fail him?

Never.

His mercy exceeds the demands of law.

His love envelopes us in His salvation.

The nails that fastened His Son to the cross were protocol. We all know what really held Christ there.

The same thing that holds us to Him today for eternity.


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. -John 10:10

According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. -1 Peter 1:3-5