This picture has been on my vision board all year, but up until today, I hadn’t paid much attention to the “hand in hand” part. I’ve been walking with God for years, sometimes more closely than others. But I’m not sure that I’ve done much hand-holding.
I feel like the Lord said to me, “If you are holding my hand, you will never get too far ahead or too far behind me.” I seem to be the type of person who likes to rush ahead when I know where we are going, and when I can’t, then I give up and lag a good way behind without even noticing. Neither one of those is possible when holding hands. I want to always be holding God’s hand so I can sense the tug when I get just a bit ahead or behind and correct my position.
Growing up, whenever we went anywhere as a family, my Father always walked much faster than the rest of us. To be fair, he is very tall and his strides are much longer than ours were. Even today, though, I have to walk really fast to keep up with him. I always learned to just keep an eye on his head (since he was often the tallest person around) so I could follow him in a crowd.
When I first started dating my husband, one of our first disagreements was about the position of our hands and arms when we walked hand in hand. He had a specific way he wanted to hold my hand, but it felt uncomfortable to me. He pointed out to me that if I let him walk in front a little and didn’t try to walk faster than him, it wouldn’t be so uncomfortable to me. But I had been trained to walk fast. And as a woman raised in America in the late 20th century, the idea that he wouldn’t hold my hand unless I let him be in front was not an idea I would let go easily. Even though I had been raised with a traditional view of submission in marriage, I wasn’t even married to this guy, and this felt a bit domineering and overly legalistic even in my mind.
We somehow worked it all out. I think I eventually decided to pick my battles. I don’t even notice how we hold hands these days. But God brought this memory back as He talked to me about holding His hand. When holding His hand, I want Him to be the one with his arm in front, leading me. And if that means I feel uncomfortable when I try to step ahead of Him, that’s exactly how I want it to feel.
These days, my hand holding disagreements come with my children. The littlest is reaching a stage where it isn’t always necessary to hold hands. But in certain, more crowded or dangerous situations, I still insist. He’ll acquiesce for a moment, but then he’s tugging and trying to slip away.
My oldest was wearing a comically large mascot head the other day and couldn’t really see well. He was bumping into things and people. I took his hand and led him for a while, but then he forgot the reason for holding my hand and let go, returning to bumping into things and people once again.
We can be like children. Excited to be independent, feeling like we can manage just fine walking with, but not holding God’s hand. When we strain, He honors our choice, and let’s our hand go (though He’s always ready to take our hand back in His). I realize that I’ve been (metaphorically) bumping into things and people for years, not realizing that if I just hold God’s hand as we walk together, He will lead me around other people and obstacles along our path. It suddenly seems so clear that I don’t have to bump into people if I’m connected hand in hand with Him.
And the more familiar His hand is in mine, the smaller the movement needed for Him to lead me. Like partners who have danced together for years, the gentler the hand hold and smaller the signal needed as they lead and follow in beautiful harmony.
What does your walk with the Lord look like?
I love the moments when I’ve walked with Him side by side. The Lord is inviting you and me both to take an even more intimate step, and hold His hand as we walk with Him.
How would your walk look different if you slid your hand into His?
Today, and in the month ahead, I am praying that I learn how to walk hand in hand with God, and that I clearly feel when my hand slips out of His, so I can quickly take hold of His again.
Isaiah 42:6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.”