DayBreaks for 2/02/18: The Hands of a Father, #1
From the DayBreaks archives, 1/28/98: (this DayBreaks was written one week after my father died in 1998)
I remember as a child laying in the church pew (I was really young, OK?) and my dad would be resting his arm on the back of the pew with his fingers dangling down towards me. I’d play with his fingers and hands while the preacher did his thing. I remember thinking how powerful and strong my dad’s hands were. He was a farmer then, so you know that they were broad, calloused and hardened from difficult work.
Last week as I sat by my father’s deathbed and I held his hand in mine, the situation had changed. Once upon a time, it was my dad’s hand that enveloped mine. Times when I was afraid, times when he was afraid for me (that I’d run into the road or something like that), times when he was trying to keep me from falling. And certainly times just when he wanted to hold my hand or I wanted to hold his.
They say that at some point in our lives that the child becomes the parent and the parent becomes the child. I guess that is what happened to my dad and I last week. No longer could he hold my hand, now it was my hand that surrounded his and it was I who was trying to provide the comfort and assurance that I could. Yet for as much as my heart yearned to keep him from slipping off into eternity, I was powerless to stop it. And for his sake, I’m grateful that even as my hand had to let go of his, I know our Father had taken his hand to lead him home.
As I sat by his bedside holding his motionless hand, I thought about how many times the Father has held my hand and I’ve taken it for granted. Psalm 37.23-24: If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. Daniel 5.23b: But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways.
I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times my dad held my tiny, weak hand in his. I wonder how many times God has held my hand and I’ve been so insensitive that I didn’t even recognize it. But there are even worse things than not recognizing His hand. I have a choice to withdraw my hand from His (indeed, isn’t that exactly what we do every time we sin?). I also have a choice to not take the hand that is offered to me (the way of escape from temptation is to take His hand and walk with Him through the test).
If I had the chance for my dad to hold my hand again, I’d grab it in a heartbeat. I hope and pray that I’ll be as eager to let God hold my hand on this journey through life. And I pray that I’ll never again be so insensitive to the Father’s hand upon my life. My prayer for you is the same.
PRAYER: Lord, how desperately we need Your hand to hold ours! We tremble in fear at the roaring of the world when we think we are alone. May Your Almighty hand reassure us that we are never alone and we are never to fear with our Father at our side. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.