In my recent podcast, Take My Hand, and Walk, I shared about how much God desires to walk with us in life. I heard the song, "In the Garden," when I was at a funeral for my friend's grandmother. The words were so intimate, "He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own." She was the one who explained to my mom that God wanted more than just obedience of some rules, He wanted to share in her life. My mom could have an personal relationship with Him. This interaction came shortly after she and my dad went through a rough patch. Knowing God was not far off, but very close to her heart, gave her hope to rise again. Pearl's life wasn't famous, but her legacy gave me a mother of faith and character.
Walking with God was not popular for my mom, and some of my father's friends would make fun of her "personal relationship with Jesus." One day, however, she received a call from my dad's best friend, Bill, who was one of her worst critics. He had been given a fatal cancer diagnosis and he was terrified of death and going to hell. My mom called her mentor, Joan, for advice on how to offer hope to Bill. Joan suggested getting him a Bible and just giving him hope, that nothing can separate us from God's love when we know Jesus. Bill came to also walk closely with God in his last days, daily sitting in hospital chapel, and sharing his story of hope. I wasn't scared when Bill died because he found hope to rise again.
God puts people in our path to take our hands when we feel afraid or go through dark times. He gives us the courage from knowing others of faith, giving us an example of what it means to walk in a way that is humble and loving. God is eager to calm our anxious thoughts and is acquainted with all our ways. In all of scripture, God comes to us and simply walks with us.
In the garden, He walked with them each day
In the burning bush, He talked with Moses
In the fiery furnace, He stood by the three men
In the storms, He calmed them
On the water, He came to Peter
On earth, He came from heaven to offer hope and a restored relationship with Him
He offers to take our hands and lead us. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26 (New International Version) This is the good news we should be sharing with one another. Taking His hand is an invitation of freedom from having to make decisions on our own behalf.
As an only child, I found myself alone in making the hardest decisions on my dad's behalf when he was given only months to live. My parents were divorced and my mom desired good for my father, but it was up to me to make decisions that were best for him. I felt so alone and exhausted. I had what felt like a thousand well-meaning suggestions from friends and family of how to proceed. I felt hopeless.
One day, driving while on the verge of tears, I just cried out to God for peace. I had an moment in my heart where I saw myself sitting next to my father in his bed, holding his hand. I knew I was going to be ok and it was safe to walk the way I needed to walk, even if was walking alone. I knew God was in control.
In truth, I was never alone because God was there holding my hand the whole time.
God continues to bring people like that to me when I feel alone or in need of wisdom. I recently sat and shared a dinner with a beautiful woman of faith named, Darleen. We were celebrating my friend's birthday, and I was sharing what inspired my podcast and blogs here at Hope Rises Again. I began to share about the new adventures I had been offered recently, and I could feel the fear creep in my heart. I had made some terrible and reckless choices before and I just wanted to "get it right" this time. Darleen, looked me in the eyes with tenderness and compassion and simply said, "God wants to go where you go. He always has, and he wants to lead and guide you. If God is for you, who can be against you?" This wasn't news to me, but it was new how I heard it. I felt peace and joy. It was GOOD NEWS!
I left the dinner table that night with a sense of purpose and hope. I called my husband right away and told him how much I simply want to walk with God in all areas. God's paths are always the right paths as long as I am looking to him. He tells me His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. I can simply rest and listen to that still small voice that leads me on paths of hope to rise again.
I hope this is some good news to you. He will never leave you or forsake you. He goes before you and behind you. He is familiar with all of your ways. Let me end with another hymn of praise for you. May your life be filled today with hope to rise again.
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father There is no shadow of turning with Thee Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness Morning by morning new mercies I see All I have needed Thy hand hath provided Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest Sun, moon and stars in their courses above Join with all nature in manifold witness To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside
Songwriters: William M. Runyan / Thomas O Chisholm / Eric Allyn Schrotenboer