A Helping Hand

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 

(Isaiah 41:10)

I stumbled across an old video of my daughter and my husband at the indoor ice rink at the Carousel Resort Hotel in Ocean City, Maryland.  We tagged along with my husband who was working in the area.  It was too cold to hang out on the beach so we took advantage of the indoor activities and ice skating was something the kids enjoyed.  My daughter was 8 years old and was so excited to finally be able to skate on her own.  After watching some of the older girls spinning and gliding along the ice, she wanted to try it too.  She gingerly moved her skates to turn around, not quite sure of herself.  After her first spin, she looked up to her Dad who instinctively held out his hand for her to grab. With renewed confidence, she held on tightly to his hand, completed her turn, and flashed that big smile.  When he said, “ta-da”, she stretched out her arms in a show of accomplishment and giggled with delight.

Watching that video brought tears to my eyes.  She looked so little.  It was only 3 years ago but seeing her face and hearing her laugh reminded me of how much she had grown.  The video was also a demonstration of how much she loved and trusted her father and how much he loved and supported her.  You never saw him on the screen but you saw her eyes when she looked up at him. What a special father-daughter moment I caught with my cell phone that day!

I watched it over and over again and with each view, it touched me even more.  This video was also a symbol of the love our Father in Heaven has for all of us.

When my daughter started to turn on those skates, to try something new; she was hesitant.  She didn’t know if she could do it.  She was afraid of falling, afraid of getting hurt.  She made a few unsure steps under her father’s watchful eye; but when she looked up and found his outstretched hand, it was then that she confidently twirled on those skates,did what she set out to do, and she radiated with joy.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

(Isaiah 41:10)

Think about it.  How many times have you wanted to do something, to set out on your own, to take a chance…but felt unsure, unworthy, ill-equipped?  You may have taken those first few steps but were afraid you were going the wrong way or that you would never reach your destination. Did you keep going?  Did you allow that insecurity to take over? Did your fear of failure cause you to abandon your attempt?

Would things have been different if there was someone standing next to you? What if that person held out their hand to help you, to cheer you on, and to make sure you didn’t fall? Then, would you have kept going?

What if you had looked up to your Father in Heaven?  What if you had prayed for His direction, His comfort, His support?

You didn’t see my husband on the screen.  At first, she tried to do it all on her own but when she saw his outstretched hand and grabbed hold of it, she twirled with confidence. She was nervous to do it on her own but once she found her support, her lifeline, she did it!

When you faced your fears, you may not have seen God standing next to you.  You may not have seen his outstretched hand waiting to guide you along your way; but He was there, His hand was outstretched, waiting for you; but it was up to you to take it.

We faced difficulties in this life.  We faced things we are not sure we can handle.  We suffered with illness, grief, loss, persecution.  Dealing with our suffering was not easy but God was always there for us.  He was always there with that outstretched hand.  Just sometimes, we forgot to look up and grab it.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I remember the day that I was told I had cancer.  I remember wondering if I had the strength to move forward, if I was strong enough to deal with such a devastating blow…

I wasn’t. Not by myself, anyway. I couldn’t have done it on my own.  I was strong enough because God gave me the strength to get through it. I grabbed His hand.

I remembered feeling God’s love all around me. He stretched out His hand and comforted me through the support of family, friends, and neighbors.  He filled my heart with peace in my weakest of moments, in the darkest of nights, and even in the ‘blue sky and puffy white cloud kind of days’ of which I always took notice. Through the good times and bad, He was always right there with me. He offered His hand when I felt like I was going to fall. He set things in motion, orchestrated events in ways only He could to make my paths straight, to show me that He was always there for me, and that I did have the strength inside of me to get through it.

There were many times that I was overwhelmed with fear, with sadness, with disbelief; that I probably missed a few opportunities to grab hold of His hand. I was sure of it.  I often got buried in all of my ‘stuff’ and I forgot to reach out to Him; but what a relief when I remembered to do so.

Come near to God and He will come near to you. (James 4:8)

The next time you are struggling, the next time you are unsure…  Look up.  Reach up.  Take hold. Let God give you the strength and guidance to move forward.

As for my daughter, I hope that when she grows up and finds herself once again on a slippery surface, trying to balance upon unsteady feet; I hope she remembers that day. I hope that she reaches up and finds her strength in God, spins circles around her fear, and with outstretched arms, laughs and soaks in all the joy her heart can hold.

Twirl, Baby Girl, Twirl.

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