I well recall as a child of 5-6 years old walking down the street hand in hand with my father. My Dad was not a tall man but his strides were still much longer than mine. I vividly recall trying to match his strides and how difficult it was. I jumped as far as I could with each step but fell short of the distance he covered.
Then 30 years later we again held hands as I baptised him on his confession of faith in the resurrected Saviour, when he confessed his faith in Jesus, the resurrected One. It had been a wonderful moment as the two of us stood together before the congregation as father and son doing what the Lord commanded us.
Finally ten years after his baptism I again held my Dad’s hand. The cancer had ravaged his tired old body. He lay quietly in bed and tears rolled down his cheeks as he sought to endure the pain. There was little to say as I quietly watched him slip away from us.
However, I did remind him of how he had confessed faith in the Good Shepherd when I interviewed him for baptism. My father had always been a very decent, law abiding citizen. He never got drunk, he did not take the Lord’s name in vain, he was faithful to my mother all through their marriage, and our neighbours all knew that if they needed a hand with anything they could count on George Rumford to be there.
In interviewing my father I asked him how much help he thought his good works would be as he stood before God in judgment. His quick and folksy response is something I will never forget. He said, “Son, if Jesus hasn’t done it all for me then I’m sunk.” The confession of my Dad’s full dependence on Jesus could not have been better stated.
So that sad day when I saw my father leave us, I spoke to him of how we are all in the hand of our Father in heaven. All he could do was nod assent.
Our verse today speaks of the Psalmist’s great confidence in his God. The entire Psalm describes the many ways in which God knows His people. From their inner thoughts to all of their journeys in life God holds His loved ones close to His heart. The Psalmist found tremendous comfort in the knowledge that God held his hand through all of life’s experiences.
Fanny Crosby (1823-1915) wrote many hymns and expressed profound biblical truth in a simple manner that has captured the hearts of countless people since her time. One of her most beloved hymns is entitled, Safe in the arms of Jesus. The chorus goes as follows:
Safe in the arms of Jesus,
Safe on His gentle breast;
There by His love o’ershaded,
Sweetly my soul shall rest.
Whether you are burdened with a personal problem today or you are keeping vigil with a loved one who is struggling in life, you are invited to rest safely in the arms of Jesus.
Our Lord clearly and frequently called on those who are burdened in life to come to Him and find the needed rest. Come today and ask Jesus to take your hand in His and lead you through all of the issues of life until you arrive safe in heaven at last.