Held

Held

When Martin holds my hand old mother bear instincts kick right back in. His putty palm and delicate fingers, like gamma rays trigger Hulk reflexes and uncontrollably I transform into a huge, green superhero. Suddenly, threats lurking everywhere are no match for me. Heavy objects, electrical outlets, glassware — beware. Forks, knives, pencils, scissors — not on my watch. I move slow and think fast because nothing gets past Grandma’s muscles.

When God holds our hand — our troubles are well in hand.

“I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.'” (Isaiah 41:13) Reading this before bed last night closed my eyes like warm milk to a tired infant. My heart needs holding, and at any age that takes Holy Spirit hands. My husband, children, friends — all help, but they need rest too and my God never slumbers nor sleeps. (Ps 121:4)

We had some worrisome news involving our company. A large sum went out for a commercial customer, who, as it turns out, cannot pay us back. We’ve been here before, many times in 28 years, but it’s never an easy pill to swallow.

In my car, praying, I simply call God’s name, the way you call your best friend when the road looks scary ahead. I have you. He answers back like He’s been waiting by the phone. I’ve never heard God’s audible voice — but that never stops God from being understood.

When God holds our hand — our troubles are well in hand.

Press forward and walk with God.

 All the things I’ve held that only let me down and let me go I’m balling up and burning under: Do Not Touch.

“Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13,14)

Forgetting is no walk in the park. This verse is not one we read and run through sunflowers and rainbows.

It’s spiritual exercise.

It’s getting in the zone and getting out of bed. Eating a warrior’s breakfast and getting fully dressed. Lacing up our shoes. Getting in the pace of faith and never looking back. (Eph 6:13-17), (Luke 9:62)

I needed to understand Paul’s meaning of the word forgetting used in his letter to the Philippians. This is what I found: Forgetting, in this verse, is translated: to neglect. When Paul says forget those things it’s not like we wake one day claiming ignorance or amnesia. He’s saying — quit caring about it. We’re told to neglect the former and move forward.

The Greek meaning for reaching is epekteino; which is translated stretching forward. Some versions use the word striving, which implies contending in opposition.

Our memories have incredibly powerful pull. Some of us have held long and firm to heavy objects, broken items, and unsteady heights. Our hearts bearing scars from falls some choices came with. Deeper still — trauma from choices out of our control.

Press forward and walk with God.

God gives permission to focus all attention on Him.

Rehashing the past is not how the future gets fixed. I’m not saying counseling isn’t good and necessary. I’ve been blessed with two dear counselors and a crucial psychiatrist. But talking about yesterday isn’t actually what helps — listening to the Truth again and again shuts the door behind us and opens the future before us.

Excitingly, eventually, our minds get washed in the words of God’s mouth and our attention starts flying by Satan’s big mouth.

What’s putting spring in my step is this: I can quit reliving the past. Stop over analyzing the way it was or the way it should have been — because God gives permission to focus all attention on Him. Spinning over our stuff is death, but setting our mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Rom 8:6) We get to shift our thoughts on truth, honor, justice, love, what’s respectable, what is excellent, and praiseworthy! (Phil 4:8) We are free to mediate on the high wisdom of God, and ignore the low rumblings of man. (Col 3:2) We have no authority over the strongholds and arguments warring in our thoughts — God is the destroyer of these. (2 Co 10:4,5)

This word from God is renewing my mind in recent days of worry and want and what if’s: “You keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.” (Is 26:3)

Trust the Hand that’s stronger and wiser than yours.

You know the kid who fights to unlock hands in busy parking lots? That’s been me with God. Acting on the past, rolling in regret, wanting for assurances that may never be met — I’m that kid. Even when I know God is holding on to me for good, I keep wrestling over what’s behind.

And I quit.

Are you tired and needing to be held?

Willing to stop running off and living backwards?

Are you game to neglect what’s behind and stretch toward God?

Ready to trust the Hand that’s stronger and wiser than yours — and claim your prize — the upward call of God in Christ?

I am too, friend.

Martin holds Grandpa’s hand because he trusts him. And Grandpa gets to be Grandpa holding Martin’s hand. Taking him places he’s never seen Grandpa keeps him on a forward path where home is always the final goal. That’s what I want for you and for me. To let God be God. To be held and led through the highs and lows always pointed toward home. Held in the promises of the greatest Power who defeats any foe stronger than we.

Beware, threats, you are no match for He.  

10 Comments

  1. Joni Haran on October 7, 2020 at 8:23 am

    As always so beautiful. I had to read twice because it brought me tears the first time. So beautiful how you can put into words how God touches yourself heart always, no matter what. I love the, “Press forward and let God”. It’s so important at those hardest times to trust completely but if we do it’s rewarding. When I eat my breakfast every morning I will smile, think of beautiful you and having a warriors breakfast. I love you honey and I’m sharing this with a few I know will benefit from your gifted words.

    • Jo Ann Alo on October 7, 2020 at 8:39 am

      Joni, as always, you hug me with your words.
      So grateful for your encouragement and your loyal love.
      Thank you for reading, and sharing, and caring for so many.
      💗You.

  2. Margie Doorn on October 7, 2020 at 4:54 pm

    So meaningful and affirming. Always what I need to hear to encourage me and remind me of Who I am and Who I belong to…when some days can be difficult and I forget. Thank you for all the words and Scripture of encouragement.

    THANK YOU! Love and blessings friend. Thank you for sharing your heart JoAnn. Hugs.

    PS: love all the photography

    • Jo Ann Alo on October 7, 2020 at 6:33 pm

      Margie,
      Your fervent love for the Lord is a constant comfort to me.
      Yes, we know who we are because, as Ps 124 says, “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, our enemies would have swallowed us alive.”
      SO BLESSED YOU JOIN ME HERE, Margie!
      Love you Sister!

  3. David Alo on October 8, 2020 at 10:38 am

    So good to always remember he are Help in that masters hand!!!

    • Jo Ann Alo on October 8, 2020 at 10:52 am

      He’ll never let us go, David!
      “You are not strong enough to fall away as long as God is resolved to hold you.”—J.I. Packer.
      👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
      Thank you for your thoughts, Love.😘

  4. Karen Knecht on October 9, 2020 at 6:19 am

    Let God be God. Four words that seem to be oddly simple yet impossible. Do you know anyone who does this with perfection? Yes, Jesus. I will dwell on this rich reading and let it sink in my soul. Thanks for letting God use you in this way!

    • Jo Ann Alo on October 9, 2020 at 8:49 am

      Yes, Jesus! Our mediator, helper, and Saviour! He never lets go.

      Oh, Karen, I’m so grateful we get to grow up together!

      Thanks for stopping…love hearing from you.🍁

  5. Wendy Cass on October 12, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Press forward and walk with God. This is a wonderful reminder to me this morning! It is so easy to go backwards and stay there and yet, I know this is not the best place to be. Love knowing He has us in the palm of his hand always! Thank you for your heart, your gift of writing and sharing!

    • Jo Ann Alo on October 12, 2020 at 3:43 pm

      Yaaay! So grateful to hear that, Wendy!
      What a lovely image we have, feeling the security of His hands. So strong and capable. Like no other hand we’ve ever held!
      It blesses my heart to have you here, Wendy. Thank you for taking the time to leave your thoughts. (hug)

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