Best of Daily Reflections: When God Holds Your HandDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. (Psalm 73:21-24)
When my children were young, I loved to go hiking with them in the High Sierra of California. They were energetic hikers for their age and could easily cover a dozen miles in a day. Usually, we hiked along carefully cleared trails. But, once in a while, we'd venture off into the wilderness. At times, these cross-country excursions would lead us to unbridged creeks or broad boulder fields. In these tricky spots, I'd offer my hand to my children, guiding them and helping them from slipping. (Today, it's just as likely that they'd offer their support to me as vice versa.)
Psalm 73 pictures God in this way, as a strong, heavenly guide: "[Y]ou hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel" (73:23-24). Yet, what makes this image of God's presence particularly moving is the context in which it comes. Psalm 73 begins with a long complaint about the apparent blessing of the wicked. The psalmist wonders whether it has been worth the effort to keep his heart pure (73:13). Even when he realized that the wicked would someday experience God's judgment, the psalm writer had a bitter heart (73:21). He confesses, "I was so foolish and ignorant–I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you" (73:22). But then he adds: "Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand" (73:24). Even when the psalmist was being a fool, even when he was questioning God's judgment and justice, even when his heart was embittered, God did not abandon him.
Psalm 73 offers good news to all of us, especially when we are going through times of doubt and questioning. It reassures us even if our hearts are infected with bitterness. God is present with us, not when only when we are trusting him and delighting in his goodness, but also when we aren't at all sure about his goodness. God does not reject us in times of doubt. Rather, he is present in our lives, both to reassure us and to guide us.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: If you have gone through times of doubt in your life, can you see in retrospect that God was with you, guiding you and caring for you? How do you experience God holding your right hand? Do you need God's guidance and presence in a special way today?
PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for being with us in all times. Thank you, in particular, for not rejecting us or abandoning us when we struggle to understand you or believe in you. Thank you for continuing to be with us and to hold our right hands. Thank you for guiding us in times when we doubt you or your ways.
Help me, I pray, to trust you more. Help me to be attentive to your presence in my life, even and especially in times of trouble and uncertainty.
I pray today for those in my life who are going through seasons of doubt right now. I ask that you guide them into all truth. Even more, I ask you to help them recognize your presence with them. May they know that you are holding their hand. Amen.