Monday, September 21, 2009
Current Study: First Peter
Today’s Topic: Face to Face
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 41:10 and 13 (NLT) Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. I am holding you by your right hand—I, the LORD your God. And I say to you, ‘Do not be afraid. I am here to help you.’
During my freshman year in college, I would get regular letters from my grandfather, Dr. J.A. van Gorkom. He was always encouraging me in my faith. At the bottom of every letter he would write out God’s promises in Isaiah 41:10 and 13. He didn’t just put the reference there and hope I would read it. He wrote it out for me so I would be sure to catch it. Every letter had the same verses.
Those verses came to my mind today when I was writing an early morning email to a hurting friend. Yet after all these years of knowing those verses and applying their promises to my own life, I learned something new this morning.
The promises of verse 10 include courage, strength, assistance, and support. They are fulfilled in our lives because of God’s presence and because He holds on to us with His powerful and victorious right hand. But what I had not seen before is that with His right hand He is holding onto our right hand. That’s incredible to me, because I’ve always seen myself walking side by side with Christ, my left hand in His right. I’ve pictured myself stumbling and falling and His right hand lifting me back up by my left hand.
In the past I’ve seen my relationship with God as shoulder to shoulder. But if my right hand is in His right hand, we must be face to face! This puts an entirely new perspective on walking with Jesus. We have been taught to follow in His footsteps, and that creates a mental picture of seeing the back of Jesus as He leads the way. Now I see Jesus walking backwards, facing me.
He is God, so His omniscience (all-knowingness) allows Him to know every step He is taking while His eyes remain fixed on me. His hand eternally grasps mine in a handshake of friendship. He guards me and He guides me.
There can be no fear of what’s ahead, because all I can see is His face. My fears melt into faith as I gaze into His eyes of love. There can be no fear of attack from behind, because He is looking in that direction.
Dear friends, no matter what you are going through in your life today, Christ is in front of you. He’s facing you. He’s holding you. Do not be afraid. Do not be dismayed. Jesus is your strength. He is all the help you need. He will support you and sustain you through whatever lies ahead, because He is putting His feet down in that place first and preparing the way for you. Look into His eyes, and feel the firmness of His grip on your hand. You are in fellowship with God.