Creighton University's Online Ministries

Holding Hands with God

The readings of Isaiah are so moving during Advent, calling us to consider our relationship with God in new ways.  Isaiah invites us to consider a relationship with God on a very deep and personal level, to feel comforted, loved and protected.  Isaiah offers us a God who rejoices in us and celebrates us with banquets of rich wines and choice food.   There is a constant exhortation not to be afraid.
I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”   Isaiah 41:13

I have read these words every Advent for years, focused on the words, “Fear not.”  But one morning as I looked at this passage, I noticed the beginning of it:

“I am the Lord, your God who grasp your right hand.” 

It was fairly specific.  Not that I was reaching out to God, but that God was reaching out to me – and grasping me by my right hand. How wonderful. I relaxed into that image and tried to picture that.  What would it be like to have God hold my right hand? 

Terrible!  I couldn’t do anything!

I am right-handed and if God is holding onto it, how would I get all of my things done?  I am a busy, busy person (sometimes so busy that I am coming and going at the same time).  With my right hand un-usable, I couldn’t drive, use the computer or grab my mobile phone.  If I really ponder the image of the Lord grasping my right hand, it takes me several minutes to get beyond, “I can’t get anything done!” 

Then I pause in my mental distress and hold this dilemma up to God as an offering: “What now, God?” 

I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand ... I will help you.

I can see that the passage means that I can’t do it all alone.  I am strong, busy, independent and apparently somewhat arrogant.  I want to do it all myself.  How do I share my life and my work with a God who at the moment seems to be hampering my progress?

That’s where the Isaiah reading adds, “It is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”
I really, really don’t have to do it alone.  I can step off my self-imposed pedestal and join the rest of the human race in asking for help. 

I can ask God every morning to open my heart in new ways for the freedom to accept what God wants for me - not what I want for me. I can realize that God stands ready, cherishing me every moment, holding my hand and offering me a banquet.

I am the LORD, your God,
who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I will help you.”

by Maureen M.Waldron, Creighton's Online Ministries

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