When my son was learning to walk, we would take our daily stroll around the yard.
Slow and focused, the sun beating down on us, hand in hand. A different kind of hand-holding than me and my husband; Different from the fingers intertwined by love.
This grip is out of necessity. Stability. Without my hand holding him, prodding...guiding... he would be stationary. He’d lose his balance and fall. So he held tight. He had felt the pain of the hard ground enough times to fear the weight of gravity.
As we walked, I’d feel him begin to lean away from me. As his body weight tugged on my arm, I stayed constant. We continued in matching stride and he would follow my strength, until something caught his eye again.
Fluttering butterfly, leaves dancing in the wind, all pulling his eyes from my steps.
He leans his weight in his desired direction.
I hold tight. I know best.
I veer him from the dangers of the street, the cars he doesn't understand.
I know where we are headed.
I lead him toward safety, towards the desired goal.
God’s laws are that parental grip. They're not a grip of imprisonment or cruelty, but a grip of stability, help and leadership... a chance to walk in stride with the One who knows all... to be near Him and like Him. But, freewill and natural tendencies are those dancing shadows and subtle, eye-pulling distractions. I stop leaning into those laws for guidance and pull away, reaching out for new desires instead. My desires tell me that His loving hand of guidance isn’t loving at all. It’s restriction. Bullying. A clenched jaw, pounding fist. The laws that once exposed my need for forgiveness somehow became rules of a severe Godhead. But when I lean into His commandments and accept them as loving leadership from an all-knowing Father, I can trust that He is leading me for my good. His laws are not vain restrictions, they are revealers of His character. “Thou shalt not kill,” because God alone is Life and the Giver of it. “Thou shalt not lie,” because God is Truth. “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” because God is faithful and never breaks a promise.
Do you yearn for closeness again? To walk in stride with the Savior, relying on His direction and leadership? You can! He has never let go.
God has our hand as we learn to walk in this life.
Hand in hand, walking together.
His Ten Commandments, the arm that is holding us fast.
There is no captivity in that grasp.
In the strength of restriction we find freedom.
Freedom to walk in joy and life, not fearing danger.
In the grip of our Father, we need not fear. He is leading towards His desired end... His good. We may pull against that hand, wanting to follow that other thing, stretching out our arms to their fullest extent; but even when we fall He doesn't let go. We are always in His grasp.
Hold onto His steady hand.
He will guide.
He has never failed, and He never will,
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” -Psalms 32:8
“My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.” -John 10:29