Hand in hand with God (08-01-21)
Bible Reading: Psalm 139. 7 - 12
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Someone sent me the following quotation as a new year message of encouragement. It struck me as a particularly appropriate start to 2021 when greetings of Happy New Year have felt so hollow.
“I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown,” and he said: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be better than light and safer than a known way,”
This extract came to prominence in 1939 when George VI quoted it at the end of his Christmas broadcast, a fitting inspiration to the nation during the early days of the Second World War. It is taken from a longer poem by Minnie Louise Haskins, a British academic and sociologist. Written in 1908, the original title was ‘God Knows’, but it is now more frequently called ‘The Gate of the Year’. The poem is an equally fitting inspiration today as we find ourselves in a third lockdown facing the bleak months of January and February with Covid running rampant and no immediate end to the pandemic in sight despite the roll out of vaccinations.
The poem has strong resonances with Psalm 139, which also speaks of the God who searches and knows me and who is familiar with my ways. Both psalm and poem reassure us of God’s presence with us, and sense of security we feel when we put our hand in the hand of another. Why not get out a Bible and compare the two? Spend some time in stillness bringing your fears to God, reminding yourself that you cannot flee from God’s Spirit. He is always there, promising to be with us to the very end of time and beyond. The poem continues:
“So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East…
…God knows. His will is best.
The stretch of years which wind ahead,
so dim to our imperfect vision, are clear to God.
Our fears are premature;
in Him, all time hath full provision.”
Lord, please help me to put my hand in yours and to trust you even when I cannot see the way ahead. Amen.
For the full poem text, see: