Download Audio (11.5MB)
Have you ever been faced with a tough decision and wrestled to find the right path? If you are a member of the human race, I am pretty sure your answer would be a resounding “Yes!” I think we have all been there at one time or another and know how scary it can be to face the risks or consequences should we make the wrong turn.
I am reminded of a time, quite a few years ago, when I had barely begun my journey as a volunteer missionary. I was faced with a big decision about moving from one place to another. I had little experience taking huge steps of faith, such as the one I was considering, and was not at all walking in faith. Instead, I was fretting and fearful of moving outside of God’s will. I struggled for days with this decision. The Lord answered by giving me a simple vision.
It was a picture of a little girl who held on to her Father’s hand as He walked. All the while this girl was fearfully begging her Father to hold on to her and not let go! “Please, Daddy, please, don’t let go of my hand!” On and on she went, until finally her Father stopped, knelt down, and looked straight into her eyes. With a very firm but loving voice, He told her that He would never let go of her.
Since then, I have encountered many times of decision when I struggled with fear of the outcome, or fear of making a mistake or going astray. It seems that as much as we desire to make the best decisions for our lives, we will find ourselves often looking back to those times when we obviously didn’t. But even in our mistakes, we can be comforted to know that He promised He would not leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).
He didn’t promise to prevent us from making mistakes or taking a wrong turn, but He has promised that He is with us through it all. We just need to keep holding His hand as we travel the paths of our lives. On the lonely and rugged mountain trails, He is our companion. On the trek through the desert, when we thirst and feel the dryness of life and wonder when (and if!) we will find the oasis, He is with us in each step we take. When we push through the crowds and confusion of day-to-day life and struggle against endless questions, weariness, and discouragement, He walks beside us and tells us, “I am here. Talk to Me; tell Me all about it.” What a comfort to remember that no matter what we are facing, He is with us to walk us through it!
Sometimes the more dangerous territory for us can be when things seem to be going just fine and we have found our stride. Things are looking up, and our tendency can be to not have that same desperation for His presence. All of a sudden, we find ourselves in a place where our principles and integrity are put to the test, and unexpectedly, a defining moment arises in our life. And let’s say we fail, we mess up—like so many of His followers have on their way through life’s journey. Does He ever give up on us?
No! Of course not. The thought would never even cross His ever-loving and forgiving mind.
Then why do we worry and fret so?
He has promised that if we “acknowledge Him in all our ways, He will direct our paths” (Proverbs 3:6). That’s His promise—and He keeps His promises! No matter what twists or turns our path takes, He has promised to be with us and never leave nor forsake us. —Janet Kluck1
God will never leave nor forsake you
No matter what troubles may come your way, one thing you can count on is that God will never leave you or forsake you. Not ever! This is something you can know, because He’s promised it in His Word.
Hebrews 13:5 in the Amplified Bible puts it this way: “He [God] Himself has said, I won’t in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!].”
Don’t you love that? Read it again—it’s God talking to you. …
When the foundation of my world was shaking after my first husband died, I read this verse in Hebrews over and over until it settled into my heart. There came a time when I knew that I knew that it was true for me: God had a firm hold on me; He would never let me go or give up on me.
How did I become so sure? By thinking on this truth. By meditating on it day and night, as the Bible instructs us to do. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do all that is written in it. For then you’ll make your way prosperous, and then you’ll have good success” (Joshua 1:8).
I like the results that this verse promises, don’t you? When you meditate on God’s Word, you’ll make your way prosperous and successful. You do it because of your choice to read and think on God’s Word. …
What does it mean to meditate? The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition is “to focus one’s thoughts on, reflect on or ponder over.” It’s vital that you take control of your thoughts and focus on God’s promises. That’s done by reflecting and pondering on His Word instead of your problems.
You can do that! Start with Hebrews 13:5 (or any scripture of your choice that applies to your situation). Don’t just read it once and think, “Well, that would be nice.” Instead, run it over in your mind again and again. Read it out loud. Picture yourself being held in God’s strong arms. Hear Him saying the verse to you and telling you what it means.
Spend more time thinking about what God has said than you spend thinking about the troubles and questions all around you. This is the secret to tapping into God’s freedom and power and putting the past behind. And you’re the only one who can make that happen.
Purpose to give God’s Word, rather than your problems, more airtime in your brain.—Karen Jensen2
God will never stop loving you
No matter how bad life gets, you can rest in one important truth: God won’t stop loving you. You’ll have things go right. You’ll have things go wrong. But God’s love will never end—you can count on that. That truth should be one of the most important sources of joy in your life!
The Bible says it like this in Romans 8:38–39: “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.”
That’s good news. When you put your hand in God’s hand, he grabs it and won’t let go. God holds on to you with all he has.
When my kids were little, we went to the Grand Canyon. When we walked up to the edge, I grabbed the hands of my two youngest children, Josh and Matthew. Of course, they wanted to get closer to the edge than I wanted them to get. They tried to squirm and shake free, but I wouldn’t let go. I was their father, and I loved them.
You’ll have times in your life when you’ll want to let go of God’s hand. You’ll want to give up your commitment to Christ when times get tough. But God won’t let go of you—ever. Once you put your hand in his, it’s there to stay.
If you could earn your salvation by working for it, you could lose it the moment you stopped working for it. But you didn’t earn your relationship to God. It was a free gift. Once it has been given, it can’t be taken back.
That’s an unimaginable source of joy for the believer.—Rick Warren3
Published on Anchor March 2023. Read by John Laurence. Music by John Listen.
1 Adapted from a Just1Thing podcast, a Christian character-building resource for young people.