As I have mentioned in several other letters to you, each morning my lovely wife and I stroll around the block with our very old friend, whose nose I might add, does not know its age, for every blade of grass still seems to hold an interesting odor. This particular morning it was a little cooler, so we both had lite jackets on, but it was expected for the Scriptures are quite clear that as long as there is an earth there will be seasons. (Gen.8:22)
I would like to inform you of something that my wonderful wife and I do everywhere we go, a habit, if you will, that I would hope you and your spouse would endeavor to adopt if you do not already perform it, we hold hands. It does not matter where we are, where we are going, nor do our particular feelings for each other at the moment come into context, if we are walking together, we are holding hands. As we began our stroll this morning, my wife reached over and pulled the sleeve of my jacket up just a little, for it was inhibiting the touch of the flesh of our embrace together, as it were. In that moment an answer came into my mind of a question I have had since I first began studying the Word of God many, many years ago. If you look in Exodus 3:5 God says to Moses, “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is Holy ground.” As a new Christian when I first read this it was of course a Mystery to me, then with the leading of the Holy Spirit over time I came to understand to a degree that nothing or no one is to come between our relationship with the Lord, but this morning He blessed me with something new, in that one movement by my wonderful wife with the sleeve of my jacket I was shown a love from the Lord that I cannot fathom, a degree of closeness that is nearly incomprehensible. I love you so much, nothing ever has and nothing ever will come between us, I have written your name in the palm of my hand, (Isa.49:16) and you will never be separated from the love I have for you.
Our old doggy will die, either myself or my wife will die first, but He will never, ever let go of my hand, or yours my friends. Though all may forsake you, though you may be ostracized from all that surround you each day, He will never leave you or forsake you. (Heb. 13:5) The holding of hands for us began nearly the first day we met and has become a symbol, a bond between us, it is automatic and continuous, and if you have been married for any length of time, you understand full well what I meant when I mentioned that it occurs no matter our feelings at the moment for each other, for though we are becoming one, we are still individuals, and have different likes and tastes.
I heard a very amusing but wise story on a Christian radio station a while back concerning a couple who had been in disagreement over an issue for several days, and emotions surrounding the topic had put them at odds with each other. As the husband arrived home one day during this time of dispute, he found a note on the refrigerator that said, “Dear Harry, I hate you, Love Martha.” The incident was resolved, the dispute was over, and never once was the depth of their love for each other in question.
Our Lord does not test our love for Him so that He will know the depth of it, for all things are known by Him, He allows difficult situations to enter into our lives to help us trust in Him, to help us grow in our relationship to Him, to show us the true character of our nature in who we are at that point of our lives. He loves us so much that He will not leave us where we are, but desires to draw us closer to Himself. Many fall in this area, for they allow the thoughts of “Why did God let this happen to me,” determine the course of their lives, seeing as punishment what God intended as a blessing. Ask Joseph when you meet him, “Why do my brothers hate me, why did they sell me into slavery.” Sometimes when we just read the words of Scripture instead of studying them, we tend to miss what our Lord is trying to teach us, that everything that He allows to come into our lives is not always just for us. (Gen. 45:7)
Now, I realize that for some this is a difficult statement, for if God truly loves us, and He has said that the thoughts that He has for us are for peace, (Jer. 29:11) would not our best interest be one of His main concerns? How has anyone who has died to self, think of anything but the welfare of others for the Glory of God. Do I hold my beautiful wife’s hand because I need to, or because she loves it when I do, and is saddened when we have to part ways for the day, Absence does not make the heart fonder, it saddens it. She could not fully comprehend when we first married, a statement I made that she could not fully believe for everyone in her past had abandoned her, my words that are still spoken in truth to this day, “I stay because I want to, not because I have to.”
Are you beginning to understand the continuing and abiding words our Lord spoke, the fierceness, determination and incredible certainty of commitment given to us by the words “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Unless my lovely wife and I are called home to glory at the same time, I will not be able to hold her hand one day, but only for a short time, for how can one judge the time of life with the time of eternity. And if we leave this earth at the same time, I will be holding her hand as we walk into the Kingdom together.
Jesus Christ is holding you in His Almighty and loving hands right now, my friends, He has been holding you safely since the day He called and you answered, and He will never, ever let go of you. His protection for you knows no breach, His strength to keep you knows no equal, His guidance can be trusted fully, and His love for you is deep, abiding and forever, with no diminishing or end.
You will always and forever be loved.