A Hand to Hold
On the Path of Life, like a young child crossing a dangerous street, we have a hand to hold every step of the way.
Sometimes a truth is so powerful that we have to use more than one word to express it, linking an adjective with noun so that it must always be so modified. Loving-kindness is such a term. The kindness of God will always be a kindness marked
- by love, not convenience or contract,
- by mercy, not onus or obligation, and
- by grace, not innovation or influence.
The Love of God is marked by kindness of a holy covenant—a solemn, unbreakable relationship that resounds with the joy of hope. As is the requirement of all biblical covenants it is sealed in blood, the Blood of the Lamb. The binding force that holds God’s love for us to His kindness toward us is the precious, sinless, powerful and spilled-out Blood of Jesus. His innocent life’s blood poured to the thirsty earth, carried our sins far away from us and bound our life to the life of God. There is no greater, no stronger bond than this. We can always trust the love of God to be kind and the kindness of God to be loving.
We can always be sure that God’s ultimate purposes for us add up to kindness. His plan for our lives is one of usefulness and productivity, of relationship and deep joy. This is a kindness that supersedes circumstances for they are not always kind.
- When there is pain, He gives strength until the healing comes.
- When there is trouble, He supplies peace until the resolution comes.
- When we experience need, He gives creativity until the need is met.
- When it is night, He gives us a song until the morning.
- When there are tears, He is the arm around our shoulders until the tears are all shed.
- When there is reason to fear, He is the Rock on which we can stand in faith.
- When we are guilty, He listens for our cry of repentance.
The kindness of God is a loving kindness.
The love of God is a reality, an unchanging, constant force in our lives. He never stops loving us, even when we are wrong and in rebellion against Him. We can understand a little about the love of God by considering the sun. It is constant as the earth and all the planets with their moons swirl around it. From our earthly vantage point, clouds may hide the sun so that it does not hurt our eyes, but even a hidden sun can still burn our skin. Clouds do not block the sun and its light; they only dim our perception of it. Our orbit is secure, our atmosphere is safe to breathe, and our clocks never cease to click off the hours.
And so it is with the love of God. Sometimes it is what we might call a “tough love,” when God lets us have our own way or permits injustice to come our way. This tough love draws us back to Him when we have done stupid things. The injustices we endure we count as the fellowship of His sufferings so that we can also share the joys of His resurrection.
How can this be? It is because His Love comes to us in Kindness and His Kindness toward us is always Loving.
Like a young child crossing a dangerous street, we have a hand to hold every step of the way.
O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in a barren and dry land where there is no water. Therefore I have gazed upon you in your holy place, that I might behold your power and your glory. For your loving-kindness is better than life itself; my lips shall give you praise. So will I bless you as long as I live and lift up my hands in your Name. My soul is content, as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips, When I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the night watches. For you have been my helper, and under the shadow of your wings I will rejoice. My soul clings to you; your right hand holds me fast. May those who seek my life to destroy it go down into the depths of the earth; Let them fall upon the edge of the sword, and let them be food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; all those who swear by him will be glad; for the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.
Psalm 40:11-13 NKJV
Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me. For innumerable evils have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head; Therefore my heart fails me. Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me!
Psalm 92:1-5 NKJV
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night, On an instrument of ten strings, On the lute, And on the harp, With harmonious sound. For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands. O Lord, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep.
Philippians 3:10-11 NIV
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Lord Jesus, I have known Your loving-kindness and I can testify that is better than life. Life outside of Your covenant is random, dangerous, and beyond understanding. There is no place to look for guidance. There are no voices to sing encouraging songs to us in the night. There are no kind faces to look our way in simplicity—everyone is up to something. But life with You, Lord is not that way. With Your loving-kindness to shine Your face upon me. You sing to me in the darkness hours. You guide my every step. Yes, I can face today with courage based in Your loving-kindness! Amen and Amen.
The Love of God
Words and Music: Frederick Martin Lehman
1. The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
It goes beyond the highest star And reaches to the lowest hell.
The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—The saints’ and angels’ song.
2. When hoary time shall pass away, And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;
When men who here refuse to pray, On rocks and hills and mountains call;
God’s love, so sure, shall still endure, All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—The saints’ and angels’ song.
3. Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved