The last few years have been memorable for my family. Sharon and I have been blessed by two thundering little toddlers, and a very special eight-year-old grandson. The eight-year-old is very smart, even brilliant learning how to put together and take apart computers. The two girls, while only weeks apart, at first glance look alike, but are in fact are very different. They are three years old and do three-year-old things and have some things very sweet things in common. For example, when they were very small Sharon and I insisted in speaking “small speak” (a language big people make up to try an communicate with little folks who haven’t learned to chat yet!) Our “talking” with the little ones consisted of Sharon and I standing there and making noises that babies seem to understand, but sounds more like a cat trying to sing from Handle’s Messiah. We would make faces, sing songs and coo until the babies accidently raise their lips into a would-be smile. Then the world stops! They probably aren’t really smiling yet, but the mere suggestion of a grin will make for two very happy grandparents.

Another thing they have in common is that they are totally dependent on their parents. I guess more on their mom right now for their sustenance and the mothers touch and mom is always there.  And of course, their Daddies are also there, but not quiet as “in control” as their female counterparts!  As I watched the babies I became amazed that there wasn’t one thing they could do alone! They always had to have help and warmth and love. Even their most basic instincts, their most basic needs were met by their parents. What’s more is even their cry’s had to be interpreted since they couldn’t speak or communicate their feelings in any other way.

I thought, “How vulnerable they must feel, how alone and frightened.” But just then I felt… the pleasure of The Lord. I felt his thoughts reached out to me.

“Jonathan, this is how I want you to be with me. Be helpless as these baby’s are helpless. I drifted to thoughts of my relationship with the Almighty. Was I dependent upon Him the same way as my granddaughters were dependent on their abba? On their mom?  Did He hear my cry as crisply as I heard the babies?  Why did I not let Him guide me and hold my hand as my little grand daughters hold our hands and let us guide them? Why do we insist on taking the control of our lives away from our Abba and totally ruin a good thing for ourselves?

In my memory I see a picture of myself learning to ride a bike when I was six or seven. I remember my father running beside me holding the seat of the bike. I was so excited that any moment I would be “on my own”. I needed that feeling of ownership, that feeling of knowing I was in control! I remember riding the clouds of satisfaction after my Dad let go of the bicycle seat. When he brought both his hands up to show me I was not being held any longer I was shocked… I hardly felt the difference. It was as if my bike was still in his grip; that someone or something was holding on to me and not letting me go alone.

But then I got heroic!  I thought I was in charge and that I was invincible. I knew in my heart of hearts that I could control that bike and I needed no one or nothing to help me. I was after all, the captain of my own ship, master of my destiny. As soon as I convinced myself that I needed no other hand on my bicycle, as soon as I knew I was “in control”, my bike started to twist and turn and five seconds later I was on the ground wailing like a four-week-old child. I blamed my father for letting me go and I blamed the wind for blowing and the cement for being so hard. It was the bird’s fault and the trees fault that I fell… Not my own fault… for letting go of the invisible hands that were guiding me and holding me up.

We get so enamored with ourselves and blinded by our self-love that we forget the very hands that gave us life. The need for control is ever present in our souls. The need to influence and control, that need to regulate every aspect of our thoughts and energies, motivations are always lurking, like a monster crouched in the corner waiting for our feet to trip over themselves. Lord, give me the intelligence to see my ignorance; give me understanding where I have none. Lord please doesn’t let go of the bicycle seat. And if I do fall let me never forget that you, Lord, will be there to pick me up. My deepest prayer Abba, is that I never think I can do it without you. Let me be helpless all the rest of my days, relying on you for my every breath…and knowing it!

In His Grip,


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