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?

 

Jesus Rescues, Rebuilds, and Restores the Ruins of Shattered Hearts

Courtesy of iBibleverses
Courtesy of iBibleverses

An 80 mph wind hammered hail the size of half-dollars against our windows. So loud. So persistent. So threatening. I covered my face and cried as I thought of what damage it would do to lives, farmers’ crops, and people’s property. God, please protect us!

We are having record rainfalls here in South Dakota. The sky is still threatening more. Most years we are praying for rain, but now I look up and plead with God to please allow the land to dry so the rivers settle back into their normal paths. Towns are flooding throughout the Midwest. Foundations of homes crumbling. Roads washed out. Landmark parks beyond repair. Deadly twin tornadoes left piles of rubble where homes once were in a small town in Nebraska and snatched the lives of a 5-year-old girl and a 74-year-old motorist.

So much destruction and devastation. Spirits crushed. Hearts broken. Lives turned upside down. Overpowered. Defeated. Overwhelmed with sorrow, confusion, and pain.

Overwhelmed” is “to be overpowered or overcome, especially with superior forces; destroyed; crushed.” I picture a two-ton giant’s foot not only stomping his foot down on us but twisting his boot back and forth to make certain we are utterly destroyed with nothing left of us.

There are so many storms in life, both visible and hidden, that overwhelm us. Overpower us. Crush us. Circumstances that don’t seem fair and we can’t begin to understand. Trials that turn our lives upside down and inside out. Emotional turmoil that spins us around and knocks the breath out of us. Leaving us in a heap of rubble. Our strength drains and our eyes grow so dim we can’t see hope on the horizon. 

But this brokenness is exactly what draws Jesus and His compassion. He feels each struggle and cries with us. He knows what it’s like. No one suffers the way He suffered for us. He was crushed so broken ones can be made whole. He specializes in broken hearts. No matter how broken and crushed we are, it is never beyond His power to restore.

The giants of trouble may storm in and smash our hope to pieces and grind it into despondency, but Jesus is near to rescue us. He can pick up the millions of pieces of our shattered hearts and mend them together again.

He longs for us to trust Him with our healing. He waits for us to not only need Him, but to want Him. His heart of love yearns to rescue, rebuild, and restore us. He knows every detail of our lives and the deepest thoughts of our hearts, but He longs for us to bring it to Him, to confide in Him, to rest in Him.

He Longs For Us

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.”
Psalm 61:2

He Is Near to the Broken
He Will Rescue Us

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted;
He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”
Psalm 34:18 NLT

He Will Rebuild and Restore
the Ruins of Our Hearts

“You will be rebuilt;
I will restore all your ruins!”
Jeremiah 44:26 NLT

cutecolorsbutterflyline

Precious Jesus,
Rescuer of the powerless,
Healer of the wounded,
Restorer of ruins,
Sometimes our hearts
Feel so broken,
Crushed into a million pieces,
Without hope of being restored,
But Your limitless power
Can and will restore
Broken bodies,
Crushed spirits,
Smashed hopes.
We plead upon
Your tender compassion,
Your unmerited favor,
Your boundless love.
Help us to flee to You,
To confide in You,
To rest in You.

cutecolorsbutterflyline

“We pour out our miseries,
God just hears a melody.
Beautiful the mess we are,
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a hallelujah.”
– Amy Grant


Joining Up With:

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Whitespace Writing Prompt:
Share a special Bible verse that is
currently touching your heart with rest and comfort.

A Soft Gentle Voice

Journey of Rest: It’s Time to Stop Running

rest

“Rest became a battle to run away from the things that break me
– instead of allowing the brokenness to bring me to Him.”
– Bonnie Gray

That’s me. Running away. Fighting against the remembering. Spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere but empty and exhausted. But I don’t want to live like this anymore. This numbness, this shutting off my feelings because it hurts too much. This putting on a strong front and saying, “I’m fine.” This letting the words and actions of others give me my identity. This robotic living controlled by what was or is expected of me.

As I write this, steady rain is falling straight down in a peaceful rhythm, replenishing, refreshing, brightening the dependent earth. As I sit and watch, I listen and let the sounds soothe my soul. I breathe in the freshly laundered air, begging God to fill me with the rain of His Holy Spirit. To breathe life into my soul. To break the shackles from my soul and set me free.

Please, Dear God,
May Your Holy Spirit flood my soul,
Wash away all my self-sufficiency,
All the lies about who I am,
Whatever keeps me from resting in You.

I don’t want to be strong anymore,
I want to relinquish all control,
The control I let people hold over me,
The control of wanting my own way,
Not trusting Your plan for my life.

I don’t want to run away anymore,
I want to embrace the vulnerability,
To find the real child in me
You created me to be,
To lean into You trusting and unafraid.

I want to open the doors of my heart,
To journey with You,
To layer by layer
Expose to Your healing rain
Those deep places of pain.

Please break away
These embedded shackles
That trap me –
This shame that poisons my perspective,
This fear that freezes my faith,
This unfounded guilt that eats me alive.

I want to be free, Lord,
To feel, to want, to need,
To allow myself to be loved,
To love myself as You desire,
To nurture my depleted soul,
To open my heart to the power of Your love.

justrestAre these the longings of your soul, too? Do you need rest? Then come on a journey with us to find it. Bonnie Gray’s new book – Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest – has come out this week and is packed with so many insights that I have to read it slowly, trying to process one revelation at a time. It is already changing my life. It has shaken up beliefs that have been instilled into me. This idea of doing God more service if I forget about me and concentrate on encouraging and nurturing others. This doing and not just being. I always feel selfish when I take time to nurture myself, not realizing God wants me to take care of myself – to nurture myself in His bottomless fountain of love and security. I’m beginning to understand why it’s not selfish, because it is only through accepting and nurturing myself as the precious beloved of Jesus who wants me to bare my entire vulnerability to Him for healing that I will be able to nurture others with reckless abandon with the same love Jesus gives.

True rest is not running away from all our vulnerability, brokenness, and hurting emotions. It is leaning into Jesus, allowing Him to love us fully and freely. To go to Him just as we are, not trying to be strong, but raw with all our pain, shame, and fear, not trying to minimize any of it. Baring our hearts to Him, letting Him cut away the cancer in our souls, and wash and restore us with His healing balm of grace and love. 

“But there comes a time
when it takes more faith
to fall apart with Jesus
than to stay strong enough
to stop it from happening.”
– Bonnie Gray

“Whitespace. It’s the space on a page left unmarked used to make art beautiful. It gives the eye a place to rest, to bring out all the beautiful colors and images. You and I are God’s artwork. We need space to rest, so we can live a beautiful story.

I’ve written this memoir-driven guidebook — with chapter by chapter journaling prompts and group discussions questions so you can:

~ move beyond surviving to find rejuvenating rest

~ uncover the you God made: explore what feeds your soul

~ discover practical ideas to create space in your heart and schedule to rest

~ understand how your personal story shapes how easy or hard it is to receive self-care and soul care.

~ be inspired with hope, peace and encouragement”

– Bonnie Gray

 

21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Joining Up With


A Soft Gentle Voice