It had been a year since Iíd last taught the half-day workshop and my memory of the material was a little rusty. Each time before three of us had co-taught the course but this time I was on my own. I had to cover their sections as well. I hadnít been given much time to learn their portions before the class date was upon me and there was a lot of material to cover. I guess this was why my nerves were acting up. Iíd have a little more time on the plane to rehearse but as I zipped up my briefcase I could feel my anxiety level building. I placed my bag in the back and as I slipped into the front seat of the car a feeling close to panic grabbed me. We had designed the course to be co-lead. As the thought raced through my mind, ďI canít teach this class all aloneĒ something special happened. I felt words spoken into my heart, ďYou wonít be alone. Iíll be there, holding your hand.Ē Never before had I heard Him speak so directly to me. Suddenly, a deep and reassuring peace enveloped me and I knew I wouldnít be alone. God would be with me.
When we are little those who love us hold our hand. They hold our hands when we cross the street to protect us from danger. They hold our hands when we are in crowds so we donít get lost. And they hold our hands to show we belong with them. Itís a reassuring feeling for a child to have someone hold their hand. They feel loved and secure. Did you know that our heavenly Father also holds our hand? Isaiah 41:13(NIV) says ďFor I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.Ē He holds our hand to protect us from danger. He holds our hand so we donít get lost. And He holds our hand because we belong to Him.
I remember being in a store with my mother when I was very little. We were stopped in front of some shelves in the store and she was holding my hand. A pretty thing on the shelf attracted my attention and I let go of her hand to take a closer look. Once my interest waned, I stepped back beside her and reached my hand up to take hers. But after a moment, something didnít feel right and as I looked up at my mother I knew what it was. The lady smiling down at me holding my hand wasnít my mother. I felt shocked and scared. My young brain was overwhelmed by surprise. I ran down the aisle calling ďMomma!Ē I turned the corner and there she was. Relief washed over me and I ran to hug her.
When we are enticed by the pretty things of this world and let go of our Fatherís hand, we can be sure that He never leaves us. Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV) says ďThe LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." We may leave Godís side but He never leaves us. To find Him all we need do is reach out.
So how did the workshop turn out? Any time I felt uncertain, when I felt I didnít know what next to say, Iíd close my right hand. It was as if I could feel the warmth of His hand in mine. Iíd smile as I felt His love surround me. Then with His peace, I would go on with the presentation with the knowledge that no matter what, I was not alone.