He came into the room rough-cut. His face had the worn look of too many sleepless nights and bitter disappointments. His hands, though now clean, were calloused and showed the toil they had labored. A scar on one hand and on his right cheek suggested injury from years ago that had healed as much as it was going to. His balding head betrayed his age of only 42 making him look older. And given that this was a man who had grown up in Mongolia it was very possible some of the wear on his face and hands was from a hard-scrabble life.
Then his little girl came up to him while he was praying in the church worship time. From this rough exterior a gentle love came shining through tender eyes; eyes that somehow did not match the brusque and hard and strong man I saw. But the shining love in his little girl’s face melted all that hardness and I saw a much different man from the one that had entered the room unprayed and looking for the love of God. She obviously adored him and I knew that he had found God’s love in his little girl’s heart. And all that strength I could see in a new light: it was strength that would protect her; hands that would do impossible things to please her; there was nothing he would not do for this precious little girl that he had fathered into the world. She knew she was safe in his hands.
And I thought of Another’s hands, One who would have looked rough-cut to the world. A carpenter whose hands would have been calloused, that would have had the scars of a missed nail or slipped saw. Calloused, but clean; hard enough to defend against any who would kill, steal or destroy, but gentle enough to tenderly take His child’s hand in His and let His love shine out of His eyes into the grateful and loving eyes of one who adored Him., one whom He had brought into the world to experience His love.
He did not have any form or attractiveness that would make people desire Him. In fact, in the end even His closest friends counted Him stricken and avoided association with Him. He was marred more than any man, and why? Because He would protect His children; He would do impossible things to please them; there was nothing He would not do for the precious ones He loved.
So He holds our hands. When the darkness closes in, He keeps on holding. When confusion leaves us wondering, He keeps on holding. Rough and sometimes feeling His callouses, He keeps on holding. Though dangers surround, He keeps on holding. We do not serve a god who does not understand the hard-scrabble life that we sometimes encounter; He knows what it is to be a minority; to be under a government that abuses its subjects; to be an outsider from the power circles and earth-shakers that make the headlines and attract all the attention; He knows what it is like in your life, to be misunderstood, unappreciated, rumored, unacceptable, mistrusted. Yet He keeps on holding.
We can rest because we can know that we are safe in His hands.
Not sure why this is so heavy on my heart today, but maybe it is for you. Maybe He wants to remind you that He is willing to hold your hand and keep you safe from life’s troubles. Having your hand in His will not stop the pain; it will not make problems go away. But there is tremendous comfort in knowing you are safe in His hands. Do not let go.