Crossing the Street
This month will mark the first Father’s Day I have observed without my father being alive. His passing late in November 2010 is still fresh in my mind, and I’ve had a flood of memories about Dad, especially this month.
When I was a young boy, my father would regularly take me with him to do his Saturday errands, usually involving a number of stops in the downtown area of the small steel town in western Pennsylvania where I grew up. Traffic in our small town was hardly a problem. Nevertheless, as a young boy, I never crossed a street without holding my father’s hand. Every time we stood together on the curb, he would extend his arm toward me, waiting for me to take his hand before we crossed to the other side.
I didn’t need to know where Dad was headed or what we were going to do when we got there. He knew. My job was simply to take his hand before we crossed and hold onto it until we safely reached the other side. That’s all I had to do.
Such a simple action. But such a vivid, enduring picture in my mind.
Our First Step
Doesn’t it make sense that in every decision we make and every direction we take, our first step ought to be to take hold of God’s outstretched hand?
Over the last few years, a Scripture that has become especially meaningful to me is Jeremiah 33:3 (nkjv), where God says: “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” As I compared this passage to similar verses, I discovered one striking truth. Almost without fail, whenever the Lord tells us to call to Him, His next words are, “. . . and I will answer you.”
When we are facing a question of guidance or direction, what should be our first step? To reach out actively to God’s extended hand and take hold of it. That action takes the form of calling upon the Lord as a first priority, assuring Him we will hold on to Him through the process.
The second point I have appreciated in this passage concerns what the Lord promises to show us. One note in this translation concerning the word “mighty” gives its meaning as “inaccessible.” There are matters we simply will not know unless our hand is in His. Those matters are “inaccessible” to us under normal circumstances. With our hand in His, they become clear to us. We may not always know where we are headed or what we are to do. He knows. Our job is simply to hold on to His hand as He leads us “across the street.”
Such a basic action. But such an essential step for each of us in fulfilling His plan.
Putting Your Hand in His
Derek Prince lived out this concept of deliberately placing his hand in the Father’s. One principle he especially emphasized was seeking the Lord’s involvement first before moving ahead. In a radio message entitled “Waiting for God,” Derek talks about three reasons why we need to rely upon God’s leading in our lives.
What is it, then, that’s so important about waiting for God? What are the results that it will produce in us? I’d like to suggest that in waiting for God we acknowledge God in a very special way. We give Him His rightful place in our lives. It builds a relationship with Him that cannot be built in any other way.
In particular, there are three ways we acknowledge God by waiting for Him. First, we acknowledge God as our source. That’s why the psalmist said, “Wait for God only.” He was saying to his own soul, “What you need can only come from God. There’s no other source for what you need.” So, it’s in vain to turn in any other direction. You have to keep your heart and your mind focused on God by waiting for Him.
Secondly, we acknowledge God’s sovereignty, and that is so important. The initiative is with God. The timing is with God. We can’t tell God when to do it. We have to wait until He in His infinite wisdom reveals the time that it needs to be done. That way, we are acknowledging God’s sovereignty in our lives.
Thirdly, we’re acknowledging our dependence upon God. That is something that’s painful for all of us, because as a result of man’s fall, there is ingrained in every human being a deep desire to be independent—even to be independent of God. Waiting for God deals with this desire for independence. It continually reminds us we are dependent upon God. The initiative comes from God. The only source is God. And so it humbles and subdues that carnal impulse in us which is continually striving to be independent of God.
Reaching Out to Him
As Derek has pointed out in the section above, seeking the Lord first is an essential part of finding and fulfilling the will of God for our lives. In doing so, we have to take that first essential action of reaching out to Him.
Are you ready to take the first step to find direction from the Lord? Reaching out to take His hand is not a complicated process. If you want to do so, please join me in the following prayer:
Father, You know the decisions I am facing right now. I want to follow only Your guidance and direction for my life, and I certainly don’t have any desire to “go it alone” or to move ahead of Your timing.
By a deliberate act of my will, I call to You now. Lord, I thank You that You hear me as I call. I see Your hand extended to me, and I deliberately place my hand in Yours. Father, I will hold on to Your hand as You lead me and guide me in the days ahead.
I trust You, Father. And I thank You that You will show me great and mighty things which I don’t presently understand. My hand is in Yours from this point onward.
Hand in Hand
If you have just voiced that prayer, you can be confident that you are being held firmly in God’s hands. That doesn’t mean the road will be totally smooth or that you will perfectly see every aspect of His plan for you. What it does mean is that you now acknowledge Who is leading you and Who is holding on to you. That will make all the difference as you move ahead.
It’s a wonderful gift to hold on to your Father’s hand. In fact, I wish I could grasp my dad’s hand once again. I’m so grateful that just six days before he passed away, my wife, Cindi, and I were able to visit with him in my home town. When we came into the room that day, Dad was lying in bed on his right side, and his right hand was extended up by the pillow on which his head was resting. As I was sitting beside him, I clasped his right hand with my right hand, and he squeezed my hand as I expressed my love and appreciation for him.
Numerous times during that visit, Dad simply said, “I just want to go home.” That day, the roles were reversed. He was holding on to my hand as he was preparing to “cross the street,” and it reminded me of a favorite Scripture in Isaiah 41 (nkjv). So, with my right hand in his right hand, I read the Lord’s words to him: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” As I read that passage to Dad, I felt I was symbolically representing the Lord taking my father by the hand.
Derek Prince Ministries