A Scared Child Clinging to His Father’s Hand

Sis Holding Dad's Hand
(Photo credit: brainwise)

Yet I still belong to you;
    you hold my right hand.
Psalm 73:23 (NLT)

My family will tell you that I’m a “letter” guy. It’s one of the (many) quirks to which I cling. In a world of instant electronic communication I still enjoy pulling out a postcard or sheet of stationery, writing a handwritten letter, picking out a postage stamp, and sending it by snail mail. I find it more polite, personal, and intimate. Letters, in their own subtle way, are works of art.

I have also found in recent years that I enjoy reading the letters of others. I have read the letters of Vincent Van Gogh (and abridged version) and I have recently been reading the letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Letters reveal a lot about the writer. They are more intimate and personal than a work of literature and in a letter people tend to share more directly than they would in a work for public consumption. In Tolkien’s letters I’ve discovered a man of deep and reasonable faith. I’ve found a man who avidly appreciated long hours of decent ale in small pubs with a small group of good friends in deep conversation. I’ve also discovered a man grieving the industrial age and a world at war like an ent eschewing the destructive contraptions of Saruman.

As I read the lyrics of Psalm 73 this morning, I felt like I was reading a very personal letter. Asaph shares the tale of his personal journey with a deep sense of intimate confession:

  • I stumbled along the way
  • I have envied those who had more than me
  • I longed to enjoy the fantasy world of the rich and famous for myself
  • I heard the mocking of those who scoff at the notion of God, and I listened
  • I doubted, and wondered if my faith was a joke
  • I felt regret for choosing to follow God’s ways
  • I became embittered and torn up inside

I’ve written before that the faith journey is not a sprint but a marathon. I’m now beginning to realize that it’s more than that. You can even try to use the metaphor of an Iron Man Triathlon and it comes short. In comparison the faith journey is far more epic in proportion. Asaph is giving us a glimpse in his own personal account. It is not uncommon for those who choose it to encounter along the way: stumbling, trip-ups, doubts, envy, regrets, inner turmoil, and intensely personal questions which hinder a person’s resolve.

I loved Asaph’s conclusion: “I still belong to you.” Despite all of the difficulties, mistakes, questions, and doubts Asaph clings like a scared child to his Father’s hand. This morning I identified with Asaph’s description of his faith own journey. I get it. I understand. And, it encouraged me to continue on, even if there are days that I am nothing more than a scared child clinging to my Father’s hand.

7 thoughts on “A Scared Child Clinging to His Father’s Hand”

  1. I am SO GLAD that you got back to the Psalms again. I mean, I love all of your posts, but I was beginning to wonder when we were coming back to them. This post hit me at just the right time. Thank you so much for your faithful posting and your keen insights! Right now, I’m definitely the scared child clinging to my Father’s hand, just looking for direction and courage to pursue it.

    1. Thanks for letting me know Samantha. So glad that the post came when it was needed! I knew that you were really enjoying them last year when we finished the 2nd section and had thought about that when I chose to go back to them 🙂

  2. Great post man! I haven’t read the Tolkien letters but am seriously considering doing just that here shortly. I think Tolkien really hit on a great number of Biblical themes in a curiously non Biblical way. As Jesus told his parables, I think some people have that gift of sharing without sharing. A very Karate Kid moment if you will. Great passage of Scripture! I was in 2 Kings today and caught myself pondering exactly what Elisha washing Elijah’s hands was all about. Very cool post. God bless.

  3. 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!

    Life is a journey. Sometimes it’s hard to stay within yourself, to understand that my gifts, my blessings, my callings are just that….mine. Others have their gifts, blessings and callings and they are not mine. The only way for me to stay grounded and within myself is to be true to who God made me to be. I do that by being near to God.

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