- (By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
In Michelangelo's famous painting, "The Creation of Adam," the hand of God is almost touching the hand of Adam. When God came into the world in the Person of Jesus Christ, the hand of God "closed the gap" and lovingly took the hand of sinners in order to bring us into His family. But not everyone is interested in taking the hand of Jesus. Not by a long shot.
Ever since Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden, man has been afraid of God. That's what sin does to the human heart. Rather than running to embrace Jesus and follow His lead, man by nature prefers to chart his own course and rely upon what his own hands can accomplish in the process.
Little children seemed to be the most receptive ones when Jesus came around. They had not yet developed the spiritual phobias that many of the adults among them had acquired. When Jesus reached out His hand to the children, they gladly came to Him.
Even today, children are glad to take the hand of Jesus. That is, unless their parents have instructed them not to do so. What child wouldn't want to know the love of God and hear about Jesus their friend? Jesus recognized this willingness on the part of children. This is what led the Lord to say, "Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
Perhaps you are battling a physical illness today. Will you take the hand of Jesus? He can provide you with healing, encouragement and assurance.
Or maybe you are going through a tough time in your marriage, or in some other relationship. Will you take the hand of Jesus? He has a unique way of warming the hearts of those whose hearts are cold toward one another.
Perhaps your life doesn't seem to be in need of any significant healing or assistance. You may even feel like you are on top of the world. In that case, you need the hand of Jesus as much as anyone else. The "feeling" of being on top is not the same thing as actually having your sins forgiven. The Christian faith has always been far superior to man's fickle feelings.
Faith has been described as "the hand" which receives God's free gift of eternal life. This happens when a person trusts Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. The hands and feet of Jesus were nailed to a cross because you and I needed a Savior. And the Lord loved us enough to pay for our sins because our hands were not strong enough or holy enough to do it.
Do you know anyone else who has allowed their hands and their entire body to go through such horrible pain in order to save you? Neither do I.
One day Jesus walked on water as He went out on the lake to His disciples. Peter had enough faith to get out of the boat and start walking on the water to Jesus. But when Peter's faith was tested by the storm, "he was afraid, and beginning to sink cried out, 'Lord, save me.' Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him." (Matthew 14:30,31)
We all experience times of fear and uncertainty. In those times especially, we need the saving hand of Jesus to rescue us. If we will take His hand by faith, He will gladly lead us. And even if we have times of doubt like Peter, the Lord will not forget about us. And He certainly won't let us sink when we call out to Him for help.
It is a simple thing to ask the Lord to save you. A child can do it. But it will definitely put your pride to the test. By nature, we don't want to admit that we need anyone, including God. But the fact remains that we do need Him. We need Him in life, and we need Him in death. Only Jesus can rescue us in our greatest hour of need. So will you take the hand of Jesus?
In the words of a popular song from 1970, "Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water. Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea. Take a look at yourself and you can look at others differently; Put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee."
Will you take the Savior's hand today?