"Lord, take my hand and lead me, Upon life's way; Direct, protect, and feed me, From day to day. Without Your grace and favor, I go astray; So take my hand, O Savior, And lead the way.
"Lord, when the tempest rages, I need not fear, For You, the Rock of Ages, Are always near. Close by Your side abiding, I fear no foe, For when Your hand is guiding, In peace I go."
"Hold my hand," a parent may say to a child as they prepare to cross a street. A child might make the same request of a parent as they approach a dark place or a scary situation. In frightening or dangerous circumstances, we want to know that someone is right there beside us, someone who will protect us. In times of loneliness and fear, a little handholding is appreciated!
Our hymn's request has a childlike quality as we say to Jesus, "Take my hand and lead me!" Equally childlike are the needs expressed, "Direct, protect, and feed me." Day by day, we need Jesus. As baptized children of God, we live every day in the shelter of His grace and favor. Without His gentle, guiding hand, we would go astray and wander from His Word and ways.
Yet even with Jesus holding on to us, we still encounter dark and scary places in life. To walk with Jesus is to walk in the way of the cross. Yet we need not fear "when the tempest rages" because Jesus our Savior endured a tempest of hatred, rejection, and betrayal for us. As anger raged around Him, soldiers took His hands and nailed those powerful, gentle hands to the cross. Jesus hung from the cross, mocked by enemies, surrounded by darkness and abandoned by His Father to suffering and death. He endured all this so that we would never be condemned for our sins, so we will never suffer the darkness of eternal death and separation from God.
Our crucified and risen Lord is the Rock of Ages, "my rock and my fortress and my deliverer" (Psalm 18:2b). Tempests will rage around us. These may be literal tempests—storms, floods, and other natural disasters. There may be personal and family disasters—broken relationships, illness, and death. Some tempests are the heart and mind, unseen but terrifying. Through all of these, Jesus, the Rock of Ages, is "always near." Close by His side, we need not fear tempest or foe.
Before we pray, "Lord, take my hand," He is already there beside us. Jesus said of those who follow Him, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand" (John 10:28). When tempests, loneliness, and scary darkness surround us, Jesus holds us securely in His strong, nail-scarred hand.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, take my hand and guide me according to Your Word. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "Lord, Take My Hand and Lead Me," which is number 722 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. In what areas of your life do you sense a need for God?
2. What does it mean to you when Jesus says, "and no one will snatch them out of My hand"?
3. Are there people who turn to you when life gets scary?
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