Take my Hand
“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand: saying unto thee, Fear Not, I will help thee.” Isaiah 41:13
I have told the story before, but it bears repeating, that when I was a child of about 5 or 6 years of age, I went shopping in town with my Mother. She naturally, held on to my hand firmly, lest I should run into the road or into the traffic. However, I managed to struggle free from her grasp, and to run over to look in a toy shop window for a few moments. Hearing her call out to me, I retuned to her and took her hand again, only to discover to my surprise and horror, that I had accidentally gasped some other woman’s hand! I can tell you that a good 10 years had passed before I took another female by the hand,- of any age!
Why do we hold hands? Why do young lovers walk hand in hand? Why do we shake hands or why give someone our hand in Marriage?
In my Sermon today, entitled “Take My Hand”
I want to look at a timely promise found in the prophesy of
Isaiah – in the 41st Chapter. We read there …
“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand: saying unto thee, Fear Not, I will help thee.” Isaiah 41, verse 13
Gods promise here has to do with fear! Reversing the order of the words, it could read “Fear Not, I will help you, I will hold your right hand”. Holding hands is usually an indication or token of “partnership”- and here God is revealing as He does in many Scriptures, His desire to partner with his children.
To give ones hand in Marriage is a token of the life long partnership expected, and entered into. As I’ve already said, this promise has to do with fear. We live in frightening times, and the Bible warns us that at the end…
“Men’s hearts will fail them for fear”. FEAR is one of the greatest obstacles that Satan can place in our lives. For Saint and Sinner alike, FEAR is a devilish, demonic and evil spirit
to be attacked and defeated whenever and wherever it raises
its ugly head.
It is more often the fear of a disease and not the disease itself that kills, the fear of poverty instead of any loss that leads to despair, the fear of death and not the dying that is the greatest enemy. God may not permit the Devil to give you Cancer, but if Satan can get you to fear Cancer, that fear by itself
can destroy your health?
The Increase in Blood Pressure, Strokes, Heart Disease, Bowel Disorders, Hiatus Hernias, and most of the more common Psychosomatic Disorders, can usually be attributed to FEAR. We all need a lesson on how to attack and defeat fear in our lives. Remember that fear does not come from God, for “God has not given us the spirit of Fear” 2 Tim 1:7, and when the Scriptures talk about “fearing God” the words used are
usually with regard to a “Reverential Respect” and not a “Cringing affright”.
Fear is not from God; rather, it comes from the Enemy, who is looking for a place in your life and mine to plant seeds of doubt and anxiety. Satan uses worry to distract you from effective Christian living. Don’t listen to his lies! Instead pay attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit, who will never prompt you to become anxious or fretful.
Are you ever paralysed by a spirit of fear? Do you sometimes dread the future? Perhaps you even feel abandoned by the Lord, left to solve problems on your own? The good news is that God cares about our fears. He wants us to learn the right way to
respond to anxiety when troubles come. His plan is not for us to crumble with feelings of panic. Instead, He wants us to know that He is aware of what is taking place, and He also has our best in mind. Though difficulties come, He promises to bring good out of each one. Rom.8:28 Remember, He wants to hold your hand, and if you’ll let him, you need never fear.
What Is Fear?
Fear is the uneasy sense that something is not right – whether or not the perception happens to be true. Feelings of trepidation trigger an alarm warning us that we’re about to face
something that we may not know how to handle.
When I’m walking through the countryside, maybe on a lonely darkened road, the last thing I want to see or hear is that unmistakable sound of a Bull running behind me in my direction. If someone asked me, “Are you afraid of Bulls?”
I would answer yes without a moment’s hesitation. This is a
real fear. However, it does not control my life, nor prevent me from taking country walks. Some people can take caution to the extreme, and dread grows in their hearts to the point where they no longer venture out to try new and exciting things. There is no way that I would allow my uneasiness about Bulls to prevent
me from enjoying the places and scenery that I love.
And the same should be true for you.
Remember – God Is Faithful
David wrote, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil…” Psalm 23:4 Now, if there was someone who had a right to be afraid, it would be David—he faced danger everywhere he went. But why in the face of such trials would he have no fear?
We find the answer in the final words of the same scripture: “For You are with me.” David did not waver from his assurance
of God’s faithfulness, and he left no room for any buts or what-ifs. Instead of giving in to fear or the unknown, David focused solely on the Lord. Recognizing that God was with him, he saw no reason for alarm. David knew his hand was firmly placed in Gods, and thus his life and safety were also in Gods keeping.
Bear in mind that even when life takes a sudden turn for the worse, our sovereign God promises to protect us. You may not realize it, but He is especially close when trouble comes! Psalm 46:1. And He wants to calm your most restless fear so that, like David, you will be able to walk through the valley, knowing
that God is right beside you.
To gain victory over anxiety and fear, you must learn the simple principle of focus. When you keep your eyes on Jesus Christ, the intensity of life’s struggles will diminish and your faith will strengthen. The one sure way through dark, fearful valleys is to walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Cor 5:7 In fact, when you keep your heart set on Christ, you will eventually realize that difficulties are evidence of God’s earnest desire to draw you closer to Himself, and hold on to your hand.
Remember, Satan plants the seeds of fear with a single purpose—to divide and distract our minds so we will fail in our faith. But no anxiety, threat, or challenge is greater than God’s ability to conquer it; and through the indwelling Holy Spirit, divine power is alive within every believer. Faith keeps us positioned to receive God’s strengthening in times of
emergency, trial, and sorrow.
The only way to find true peace and confidence is to trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour.
I spoke with a man a while ago, who honestly admitted to me that He was an Atheist. He said “you Christians are lucky, you can talk to someone, your God, when things go wrong, but we
Atheists have no one to talk to.” This man, like so many others walks a lonely road, there is no one holding his hand and no one hearing his cries? He has for too long been holding on to his wealth, his business, his drinking or partying friends, and has discovered like the Prodigal Son, that when his luck ran out, his friends ran out too. Who are you holding on to today? God wants to hold on to you, but cannot, unless you allow him.
If the Enemy whispers, “What if . . . ?” the believer can answer with full assurance, “I belong to Christ, who has a firm grip of my right hand.” The Lord has pledged to guide each of His followers through every situation, no matter how dark those valleys may seem. The moment you place your trust in Him, you have taken your first step toward eternal victory over fear.
Let me tell you a story…
When I was a little boy, I sustained my share of scraped knees and stubbed toes. After my Mother had evaluated the seriousness of each injury, she would often produce a bottle of medicine, which I hated. When the cut was deep enough, my mother would apply iodine, which stung like crazy. No matter how much I begged for her not to, she knew best. My crying did not acknowledge her wisdom and experience.
After the tiny applicator was rubbed on my wound—and while I was still loudly protesting—my mother did a wonderful thing.
I can still picture her. She would gently blow on the stinging spot. My cries subsided as she soothed my body and,
most of all, my heart. This is perhaps one of the sweetest pictures to me of how God brings comfort to our lives. He, by the Holy Spirit, breathes relief into the scrapes and wounds of life. The deeper the hurt, the more gentle is the blowing of the Holy Spirit upon it.
My mother didn’t prevent the pain, though she tried to warn me to be careful… but Hurts are a normal part of any boy’s life.
Hurts are a part of a believer’s life as well.
Comfort is found not in the absence of pain but in the midst of it. So many hurting Christians believe their walk with the Lord is out of step because of their intense pain. They don’t feel comfortable. Yet feeling comfortable and being comforted are two different things. The first is a nice feeling but tends to come and go, as feelings do. The second is a fact based on the Comforter, not on circumstances.
And the Lord does not come and go: He has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you” Hebrews 13:5 Those who have suffered pain know that it gets tiring after a while. The weary saint cries out with Paul to remove the thorn 2 Cor 12: 7-8. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself prayed for this cup of suffering to be removed. He was so physically and emotionally weary that an angel was sent to strengthen Him! Often, however, the child of God hears nothing from heaven. Such silences are particularly difficult, especially if the agony has persisted.
Yet it is precisely at these times that our Comforter is the most precious: He is the Shepherd in the valley, the Father to His child, the Rock of ages, the Shelter in time of storm. In every storm He wants to hold on firmly to Our Hand.
Peace is not the absence of pain. We wouldn’t be promised a Comforter—much less need one—if the Christian life was a life of unending bliss.
The Comforter soothes in various ways—through Scripture, hymns, other believers (who have probably experienced heartache), and other ways that He custom designs to soothe particular hurts. He is wonderfully creative,
perfectly matching the comfort to the sorrow.
We have this assurance: “As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you” Isaiah 66:13. This side of His comfort indicates love, tenderness and gentleness, just as my Mother cared for my hurts. As a comforting Father, He gives strength to go on in the midst of pain. As the perfect Parent, He knows exactly how to balance the two.
And here’s the most wonderful thing: As God gently soothes the stinging wound, He remains close by. One can almost hear Him saying, “My hurting child, you are so special to Me. I hurt with you… I’m staying right here to take good care of you.”
“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand: saying unto thee, Fear Not, I will help thee.”
A Notice placed outside a City Hospital read: “The most critical moments demand exceptional care.” The Apostle Paul writes:
“Blessed be the God . . . of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” 2 Cor 1:3-4
So we see that pain and suffering has its purpose too? Paul makes it clear that comfort from God is not only for our benefit but also for sharing with other hurting people.
From small challenges like getting stuck in the traffic to losing a job or defaulting on a mortgage, it’s normal to feel anxious at times. Anxiety is a natural emotional response to a thought or circumstance that we perceive as negative. Tragically
for many people, worry and fear is a way of life. If that describes you, I suggest reading the words Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount. His command is clear: He says…
“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your
body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, – they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more
than they?” Matt 6: 25-26
Of course if you are holding on to something or someone else,
… the Lord will not fight for your hand.
You may say, “But I can’t help feeling anxious. I have always been a worrier!” Many people have given me the same excuse through the years. My response is always, “Oh yes, you can.”
Anxiety occurs because of the way we respond to a problem or troubling situation. You can choose what to think about, and you can decide how to respond to a circumstance.
God grants every human being free will.
No circumstance automatically causes long-term anxiety. It isn’t the Father’s purpose for you or I to be controlled by worry.
He may allow a situation in your life to help you grow stronger in faith and maturity, or to change bad habits and negative attitudes. But He does not intend for you to feel apprehensive. God is always at work to bring you to a place where you will increasingly trust and obey Him. Of course we may have concerns and Concern differs from anxiety
We must be careful not to confuse concern with anxiety. It is normal for a Christian to care. Concern motivates us to intercede and take godly action toward meeting other people’s needs – or our own.
We are to be concerned, for example, about our families, staying healthy, and doing a good job at work. Concern involves wanting to do everything as best as we can so that God receives glory from our lives. Simply put concern is positive, forward-looking, and constructive. While Anxiety is the opposite—counterproductive, stuck in the past, and negative.
One motivates us to take action, whereas the other is paralysing.
Let me be clear—concern may be marked with tears, thoughtful reflection, and quiet time for meditation. But in the end, it leads us to make decisions, not linger in fear. The choice is yours!
In difficult circumstances, a believer can fall into a downward spiral of anxiety and fear, OR, he can reach up and grasp the Hand of his Saviour, and continue on, on the road of life – saying “The Lord is my Helper… I will not fear.”
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
I am inwardly fashioned for faith, not for fear. Fear is not my native land; faith is. I am so made that worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil. I live better by faith and confidence than by fear, doubt and anxiety. In anxiety and worry, my being is gasping for breath – these are not my native air. Yet in faith and confidence, I breathe freely – these are my native air. A University doctor says, “We do not know why it is that worriers die sooner than the non-worriers, but that is a fact.” But I think I know; We are inwardly constructed in nerve and tissue, brain cell and soul, for faith and not for fear.
God made us that way.
To live by worry and fear is to live contrary to Gods will.
Those who hear God say …
“For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand: saying unto thee, Fear Not, I will help thee.”
these people can respond …
NO FEAR HERE!