This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from Lucien Accad (from Lebanon, Mr. Accad is a former director of the Bible Society in Beirut. During the war in Lebanon, his house was severely damaged many times.), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it. (Mark 10:15)
It was early in June at the beginning of the war in our country. I had to attend to some business in town and took my five-year old son with me.
Suddenly shooting erupted. Bullets whistled all around us. People, panicking, were running for shelter.
I was trying to remain calm as I did not want my son to panic, and I prayed in my heart for God's protection.
When everything had calmed down 'after the storm' I wanted to make sure my son was okay and asked him: 'Yves, are you okay? Did you see what happened?' 'Yes, dad,' he said, 'people were trying to kill each other.' 'Were you afraid?' I asked. 'Of course not' was his answer. 'Daddy, I was holding your hand.'
What confidence. As if my hands could protect him from the bullets. Sixteen years later, the war is still raging. But I have never forgotten those simple words from my little son. It has always reminded me that if I have my hand in the Father's hand I don't need to panic.
A moment of introspection: Let's see... Yves walked with his father, Lucien, on that night early in June on that embattled date. He was not afraid despite the war around them, because he walked with his father, hand in hand. Yves placed trust in his father's ability to protect him from injury or harm; he was in close contact with his father. In God's Word, we read of people such as Enoch, who walked with his heavenly Father, God, for 300 years before he died. (Genesis 5:22, 24) He was close to his heavenly Father. In Genesis 6, we read the account of Noah, a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time; he walked with God. He was a servant of God, and he obeyed and trusted God rather than men. He was not afraid to build the ark--despite taunts, vandalism, and threats, all from his community--but, as the Psalmist stated, (Psalm 118:8), "It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man." Noah obeyed God's command to build the ark, finding in that relationship the refuge he needed to fulfill his assignment. Moses was known as a servant of God, a man of God, and an ambassador of God; at the root of all these roles, Moses listened to, and obeyed and trusted God.
We walk with our heavenly Father, too--sometimes closely ("hand in hand"), and sometimes in a more wayward fashion (within "ear shot"). When we walk closely with God, listening to His wisdom and commands, obeying His commands and trusting Him as He brings forth His desired outcome, God's Word assures us that "The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:5b-7) Walking with our heavenly Father, mindful of His will for us in the moment, and trusting Him implicitly, we can indeed be free of anxiety. God again speaks through His Word, and assures us that we need not fear; why? "...for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10).
The Psalmist (often, King David himself) told over and over again why we can live free of fear, and can trust God:
Psalm 91:14 (ESV) “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
Psalm 12:7 (NIV) O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.
Psalm 20:1 (NIV) May the LORD answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
Psalm 32:7 (NIV) You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah
When we walk with the Father, we have many opportunities to trust and obey Him. We take refuge in Him (Proverbs 18:10) and abide in Him. No matter what befalls us in life, whether long upon the earth or a life cut short due to happenstance, we know that "The Lord is at hand." May God also find us at hand, walking attentively with Him. May we hold fast to His strong hand in love and know His name; God, our stronghold, will deliver us and protect us by His name. "The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know Your name put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you." (Psalm 9:9-10) May Yves' and Lucien's exchange be ours with our heavenly Father: God asks us, "Were you afraid?" We answer, "Of course not. Abba Father, I was holding Your hand.