The Reaching Hand

July 16, 2019

Psalm 40:1-2 – I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (NIV)

My two-year-old granddaughter, Adelyn, was outside with me one evening while I was working around the yard. The day before, we had been rock-picking and building a pile to throw into newly dug post holes. We had been gathering the rocks from around the side of a large pit that had been prepared as a grave for one of our horses when the horse was extremely ill and we thought we were going to have to shoot her. Thankfully, that did not happen, but the pit remains.

Ade, with me holding her hand, looked into this very large hole and was excited to see suitable rocks for picking at its bottom. I explained to her that no, we were not going into the hole, and she must keep away from it. She understood and moved back from the edge.

The next evening, while I was busy, she picked rocks and threw them into the ever-growing pile. Every time I looked up from my task, I could see her bright pink coat. And then, suddenly, she was gone. Alarmed, I called to her and was answered by a pitiful wail — a wail that sounded a long way off. Oh, no! I ran to the edge of the pit and saw a muddy little face staring up at me from its depths.

The hole was too deep for me to jump in and get her and then get myself back out. I told her that I was going to get mommy. I dashed into my cottage and called my daughter, and she said that she would be right down. I then darted back to the hole. What I saw strengthened and blessed my heart, for that little two-year-old was valiantly seeking to claw her way up the side of the pit — a futile endeavour on her own. I lay down on my stomach and reached for her little hand. We couldn't quite touch, but she refused to give up. Digging in, she pushed up just that tiny bit more and grabbed my reaching hand. I had her, and she had me. The rest of her extraction was easy as we hung on to one another until I was able to stand up and hoist her out. The pit is now fenced!

This episode made me consider anew how God is always there for each of us when we, too, fall into one of the many pits in this world for us to tumble into: the pits of despair, self-pity, anger, revenge, heartache, unwise financial management, immorality, and the like.

What I saw in Ade when she fell into the pit, however, showed me something else as well. When David fell into the slimy pit in today's Scripture, he reached up and called out in hope to the Lord, which is exactly what Ade also chose to do. She didn't just sit there and mope and feel sorry for herself. She realized the mess that she was in and began to do something about it. When I reached down, she was reaching up.

Likewise, God is always there reaching down to us, but are we willing to do our part and reach up to Him that He might pull us up out of the depths and place our feet upon solid ground once again? Or does our pride keep us in our hole moping and weeping and gnashing our teeth in despair? The choice is ours.

Prayer: Father God, thank You that when we reach up for You in humility and courage, we will always find Your loving and gracious hand reaching down for us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lynne Phipps <lynnephipps@hotmail.com>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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