Precious Lord, Take My Hand

Do you have a song that often springs up in your thoughts when you feel weary and overwhelmed? One that identifies with the deepest longings of your heart? One that helps you to keep taking the next step forward?

Have you ever heard of the hymn “Precious Lord, Take My Hand?” It was written in 1932 by a man who lost his wife during childbirth. Their child, who seemed fine, died a couple of days later. In the throes of grief and despondency, Thomas Dorsey one day sat down at the piano and began to sing this song that we can identify with and be blessed by yet today.

I cannot count the times, whether I’m weary in body, mind, or spirit, when the words of this hymn bubble up in my heart as a desperate plea to God. The weariness isn’t immediately replaced with energy. The troubles overwhelming me don’t go away. There is no instant light in the stormy darkness of my soul. But there is a quiet strength in my spirit that reminds me God is with me. He will help me and get me through whatever is wearying or stressing me and He will keep leading me on to His light. And someday I will forever be home in His Presence.

“Precious Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, let me stand
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn;
Through the storm, through the night,
Lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord,
Lead me home.”

As frail, broken children, we need God’s constant reassurance that He is leading us by His precious hand further on this journey to hope, healing, and freedom. It is a journey of pain and sadness, but it is also a journey of hope in Jesus. This same Jesus who had the power to rise from the dead has the power to hold us up. He descended into the darkest depths of despair and yet rose out of it. This same Jesus has the power to pull us up out of the pit of despair and despondency. He who has the power to walk on water and calm the raging seas will get us through every storm and night in our lives. Thank You, Jesus!

What song has special meaning to you?
Why? Will you share with us?

 

The Shepherd Calls His Sheep Because He Cares

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Darkness crept in like a thief. Too late. Now they didn’t know how to get home. A staccato of fear pounded in their hearts as they huddled together. Exposed. To whatever and whoever may want to harm them.

Many years ago when we still had children at home, we raised sheep, and one night they didn’t return to our lighted yard before darkness fell. They never stayed out in the darkness, so I walked out to the front fence line of our pasture. There they were huddled together like one dark blot about halfway back in the pasture, desperately bleating, “Baaaaahhhh!”

“Here sheep! Here sheep! Here sheep!” I called. They calmed down and began to move in my direction. When I stopped calling, they stopped, so I kept calling until they found the lighted pathway back to home.

Isn’t that how life can go sometimes? We can be contentedly munching on the blessings. We don’t see the lengthening shadows of what lies ahead. And unexpectedly, losses of one kind or another blindside us and plunge us into darkness. We panic and flail because we can’t seem to find our way to the light. Fear abounds and we don’t feel safe anymore. We try to pull up the storehouse of God’s Promises we hold in our hearts, but we can’t focus. The darkness deprives us of discernment, despondency deadens us, and dread debilitates us. Which way is home?

The sheep cried, and we, too, can cry. Their protector heard them, and our Protector will always hear us. He hears the weakest cry and can see through the thickest darkness.

When the sheep heard my voice, they recognized me as one who cared. They couldn’t see me, but they trusted I would lead them to safety. Do we know Jesus’ voice? Do we realize how much He cares? So much that He even gave up His life for us? Do we trust Him to guide us home?

“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27

“I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt
those who are] My own and My own know Me
[and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]—”
John 10:14 AMP

The sheep got confused when they couldn’t hear my voice above their noise, so they sometimes had to be quiet. Likewise, when we’re crying out of the pain of darkness, we may sometimes have to be still and listen, to tune in our ears to our Master’s voice. Do you hear it now? Jesus stretches forth His scarred hands and pleads, “Come, come, come… Come, My sheep. Come unto Me, all you Who are weary. I will give you rest. Come to Me, you who are in darkness. I will give you light. In Me is safety. I am your HOME.”

“Come to Me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said,
“I am the light of the world. If you follow Me,
you won’t have to walk in darkness,
because you will have the light that leads to life.”
John 8:12

Do you feel the most at home at Jesus’ feet? When darkness overtakes you, do you cry out? The Good Shepherd hears your every bleat of pain. Can you hear Him calling you? Do you hear the love and longing in His voice? Follow His voice. He can lead you back to the light. He can lead you back home.

“Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling”
Sung by Alan Jackson

Thank You, Good Shepherd,
for Your tender love and care!
Please help us to hear Your voice
and lead us to Your light!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Waiting and Longing, Hoping Against Hope

Joy's poem
Joy Lenton – Shared by Permission

As I gazed at the bare, dead-looking trees, an ache squeezed my heart so hard it hurt. Oh, how I long for spring when new life springs forth embracing my heart with hope again. But I have to wait and let winter play its important role…

Waiting… How difficult it must have been in the Bible days to have to wait for the Hope of salvation to be born. How discouraged people must have felt at times waiting and longing, hoping against hope,

When an angel came to Zacharias to announce the birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, there had been 400 years of silence from prophets. The last one who prophesied the Savior was Malachi. And it was 300 years before that when Isaiah prophesied:

“All right then, the Lord Himself will give you the sign.
Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son and will call Him
Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).”

Can you imagine the anguish of waiting? Some didn’t even see it happen in this lifetime. What faith they needed to believe He would yet come to be their Savior, too.

Six months after Elizabeth conceived, the angel Gabriel came to Mary to announce the fulfillment of the long-awaited promise of Immanuel – God With Us. When Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped with joy. The Savior was to be born from Mary!

We are so blessed to already know He has come. But sometimes there can still be longing, aching, waiting times for Christ. Sometimes wondering where He is in our lives. Sometimes aching for His presence – to truly feel Him. Sometimes waiting for unmet longings.

When Jacob was running for his life from his enraged brother Esau, he stopped at Bethel and used a rock as his pillow. He dreamed of a ladder stretching up to heaven with angels ascending and descending it and the Lord Himself at the top. When he woke up, he said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

Isn’t that what often happens with us? The Lord is ever faithful with His presence. It’s we who are not always aware of it. He was still there when there was 400 years of silence, and He is still here when we feel darkness surrounding us within and without. His fulfillment of His promise is just as steadfast whether it’s night or day. Whether we can “feel” Him or not.

Winters in nature are necessary. Trees look dead without leaves, but the truth is they are alive and growing underneath the surface as long as the ground isn’t too frozen. The nutrients empower the roots in the barren times. The roots grow down deeper and stronger, preparing them for what is to come, more able to suffer times of heat and drought. Longing and waiting for the signs of life again makes us value spring even more.

That’s how it is with spiritual waiting times, too. Our roots need to grow deeper into Christ and His ever-sure promises that He is here even when we can’t “feel” Him. And after the times of longing, waiting, and hoping against hope, we become more alert and aware of the evidences of His presence and the fulfillment to His promises and we appreciate those signs of new life so much more.

“Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” ~ Ephesians 3:17-19

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“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”
~ Sung by Barlow Girl

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