Psalm 32:8 - I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.
You know how it is. You've looked at something and known something for a long time and then suddenly, in a new situation, the familiar takes on such new meaning it is as if you're seeing it for the first time.
And so it was recently with the hymn, "Take Thou My Hands and Lead Me." I've sung this hymn so many times, I memorized it. It was a part of my confirmation ceremony. But it took on a new meaning recently when I saw a typed copy of the song posted on a refrigerator door, held in place by a magnet.
One of my favorite people posts bits of verse, notes, clippings, etc. to her fridge in this way. That was where I saw the typed copy of this hymn. I knew something about her special heartache, and I knew that hymn was posted to bring her comfort. As I read it carefully for the first time in a long time, I felt some of her hurt and pain. And then I thought of others I know and talk with, who while smiling on the outside are having a time on the inside. Their conflicts, rebellions, disappointments, and frustrations are hidden behind masks.
But alone, when these masks are taken off and the loneliness takes over, life can almost be unbearable sometimes—except for the kind of comfort only the Lord can bring. What a comfort there is in knowing that He is our Guide, as we pray in that old song: "Take Thou my hands and lead me o'er life's rough way. With heavenly manna feed me from day to day. Alone my footsteps falter and straggle wide; Lord, who my life canst alter, be Thou my Guide."
Jesus knows our deepest, innermost hurts. He came to us for this very reason, and through the pain and suffering He experienced, He offers healing to all: "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5).
It seems to me the Lord often guides us through dark days so that we are ready with understanding, comfort, and help for others who are troubled. Yet often we look aside or fail to hear the hurting person when a troubled heart is sending out signals for help. Even worse, sometimes we squelch such reaching out with harsh or flippant words when love is needed.
May we always be ready with words of love and encouragement for those who need to hear them.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, quicken our hearts to hear those in distress and to comfort them with the love of Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, June 1978 issue, "Take Thou My Hands and Lead Me" by Jon Suel
1. How have you leaned on God when times are tough?
2. Scripture says God will counsel us with His eye upon us. Do you take that to heart? Do you seek His instruction in His Word?
3. How have difficult times for you made you more responsive and effective in helping others?
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