For most of the day today I was afflicted with a major case of what I'm starting to think of as the "twenties syndrome," stressing about things like: Will I even have a real, at least semi-long-term job before I turn 30? Will I ever actually get done with school and get to stop switching back and forth between school and summer, school and summer, over and over? When will my life take on any characteristics of stability and permanence? When I will finally know it's ok to settle down and put down roots somewhere? Will I ever live in one place more than a couple years at a time?
I am happy where I am now, but sometimes I feel a deep longing to get everything figured out. And to know what the future holds, and to be in control (this post could totally have the alternate title "Confessions of a Control Freak.") Yes, I am a control freak. I want to know where I am going, and how and when I am going to get there and what it's going to be like when I am there. Sometimes I just want the path to be easy and clear. Sometimes, I just really wish I had my ducks in a row, my errands run, my kitchen clean, my life mapped out. Don't we all?
Then I opened the Bible for a few words of encouragement. I think I'm supposed to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 Kings 17 on the Bible reading challenge by now, but I'm a couple days behind and decided to just do some reading in Psalms instead. I was drawn to a passage in Psalm 73, when David confidently declares to the Lord, "Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand." I was reminded when I read this that a number of verses refer to God holding us by the hand. Here is one of my favorite examples from Isaiah 41: "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand . . . For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you: do not fear, I will help you."
For some reason, it really caught my attention that these verses always say that God is holding us by our right hands. All while He upholds us with HIS righteous right hand. I started thinking about what this would actually look like in practical terms. If I am supporting someone with my right hand, and holding them by their right hand, the only way that's really possible is if we're facing each other. (Picture it in your mind and I think you'll see what I mean.) Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but it seems as if this beautiful promise assumes that we are facing our Savior, focused on Him, fixing our eyes on Jesus. He holds us by our right hands; He upholds us with His right hand. I want to face Him rather than looking away and being distracted by the cares and stresses of the world around me. I want to gaze upon Him rather than looking on my own inadequacies and failures. When I can look upon the Lord as my redeemer, my guide, and my confidant, knowing that He holds me up and that He will never relax his loving grip on me, I can go into each day with confidence. I can go knowing that He is a God who provides exactly what I need and how much I need, when I need it. I may think I need bread for the month, but He will provide me with enough manna for the day. I may think I need a searchlight to illuminate my path for the next year, but He gives me a lamp for my feet so that I can take the very next step. When I think I need more--more guidance, more control, more knowledge of the future--I must remember to just keep facing the Savior. He has given my my cup, and it isn't only full. It overflows.