Do you ever feel like you are going under? Sinking into an abyss?
As a matter of fact, I feel this now. I’ll spare you the details, but the suffering of people around me is fueling a distressing tempest.
Brokenness. Bondage. Blindness, not to mention the collateral damage from these, is formidable and far-reaching.
Storms are common in today’s waters. But every now and then, circumstances converge into a perfect storm of physical, personal, and spiritual chaos.
This too will pass—I realize—but in the midst of the tumult, I called out from the cacophony and said, “Father! Do you have any guidance for me? Is there something from your vantage point I can relay to my friends?”
“I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness, / I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You, / And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, / As a light to the nations, / To open blind eyes, / To bring out prisoners from the dungeon / And those who dwell in darkness from the prison” (Is. 42:6-7).
Notice that second line of Scripture again. In the direst of situations, nothing will do but to hold hands.
Dianne and I held hands with our friends this weekend at the hospital. We cried. We lacked words. We groaned. Even men, when facing a swollen river or formidable foe hold hands. The men I meet with on Wednesday morning have held hands around the conference table and prayed together each week for eighteen years.
Father holds our hand and watches over us in the dire distress of life.
I was struck at another level by Father’s response to my plea. As if holding my hand—and my friends’ hands—is not enough, He speaks vision along with His comfort. His vision is more profound than the moderately hopeful, “This too will pass.” While He has hold of my hand, He pulls me close and speaks of the future. “I will appoint you. I will be light through you. I will minister through you.”
In other words, Father will not waste a single moment of distress. Not one tear will be lost to Him. He stores every drop of sorrow in His bottle bearing my name (Ps. 56:8). And take note: He has a bottle with your name on it as well.
We are never so aware of the Lord Jesus’ presence as is in our difficulties. He meets us not only with comfort, but with assurance of a future and hope.
When Jesus was asked why He came to earth, He quoted Isaiah, declaring He came to minister to the afflicted and broken, the captives and prisoners, and to comfort those who mourn” (61:1 ff).
Notice that in taking our hand in His reassuring grip, Scripture speaks of us being included in Jesus’ ministry as we follow His lead: opening the eyes of the blind, freeing those held captive, and bringing light to the dark places.
When it appears we are sinking into the abyss of despair, Father not only grasps us by the hand, but He leads us in the grace-filled ministry of Jesus. His perspective is this: As long as we are surrounded by the fog of darkness, why not take those blinded and captive into the light as we walk with Father?
We are called to be living demonstrations of Jesus’ life and ministry? So we live as He lived: dependent upon our Heavenly Father. We minister as He ministered: never flinching in our readiness to be light in a dark place.
And how do you suppose we should go about leading those around us who are blind and captive? Why not follow Father’s lead and grasp them by the hand?
This is what we are about as Believers! This is who we are as followers of Jesus.
If this blog has encouraged you, and you believe it would encourage someone else, please forward it to them with my blessing. In this day and time, we really must encourage one another.