When I Need Some Help
"It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms … I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them." Hosea 11:3a & 4 (NIV)
As I walked through the grocery store one evening, I saw a sight that stopped me in my tracks. A tiny girl with sparkling, almond-shaped eyes and dark, bobbed hair smiled at her daddy as he held her hands, helping her to walk on his feet.
The little girl’s feet kept slipping off her daddy’s, so it wasn’t a perfect walk. Yet it was beautiful. Joy shone from the two as they moved in imperfect tandem. She looked at him with a grin and complete trust in her eyes. He gazed back at her with delight, confident in the knowledge that his strength would keep her from falling.
It was captivating to watch.
Soaking in this beautiful father-daughter scene brought back happy memories of dancing on my daddy’s feet as a tiny girl. It also brought to mind today’s key verse, one of my favorite Scriptures where our Father God gives a similar picture of His interaction with His children. Four important truths in these verses touch the deepest places of my heart.
1. I have to be taught to walk. ("It was I who taught Ephraim to walk …" Hosea 11:3a)
Just like babies go from rolling to crawling to pulling up to walking, we are called to growth in our spiritual lives. Instead of being content to remain Christian babies, lying on the floor looking cute but expecting to constantly be served, we need to anticipate growth. We’re not born into our new life knowing how to walk, but God wants us to learn. He cheers us on as we exercise our faith in the small, everyday things until our spiritual limbs grow strong enough to stand.
2. God doesn’t make me learn alone. ("… taking them by the arms …" Hosea 11:3a)
When we’re stronger, He helps us to stand by "holding our arms" just like the dad did for his daughter in the grocery store. God is a compassionate Father who supports us as we toddle, protecting us from many of the bumps and bruises we would have gotten without His help. Our Father holds our hands, watching our progress with loving delight. His joy isn’t diminished by the imperfection of our steps. We’re learning, and He’s there to catch us.
3. He helps us with kindness and love. ("I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love." Hosea 11:4a)
We can become so entrenched in our progress and our own efforts to walk perfectly that we forget to simply enjoy being with our Father. Like a toddler, we internally stomp our feet and declare, "I do it myself!" Instead of holding our Father’s hands and trusting in His strength and direction, we so often try to make our own way.
But when we do, we miss it. We forfeit the joy of His kindness and love. Instead, let’s see our own imperfections — our wobbly steps forward — as an opportunity to grab God’s hands, lean into His strength and trust Him for the next step.
4. My Father tenderly cares for me. ("… I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them." Hosea 11:4b)
Oh, how I love the last part of this passage! Do you hear the nurturing character and tenderness of God as He cares for His children? If you’ve loved a child, you probably have memories of cuddling your cheek against the baby’s softness or of carefully spooning food into a waiting mouth.
As much as we have lovingly cared for a child, God, our perfect Father, has surely set the standard in the way He has loved us. Let’s be like the little girl in the grocery store, holding God’s hands and walking on His feet. Let’s trust Him for each step and soak in His delight. He is the strong, trustworthy Father who is teaching us how to walk.
Lord, teach me to walk hand-in-hand with You as You surround me with Your love, care and delight. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 91:14, "‘Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.’" (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What are your experiences like when you try to walk alone?
How do those experiences change (or how might they change) when you allow God to hold your hands as you walk?
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