In Loving Hands

July 20, 2017
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Isaiah 49:15-16a – Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. (NRSV)

We used to celebrate my mom's birthday at our cottage, when she was able to travel. The first time she came for a visit, I wanted to show her the beauty of our secluded lot on a small, wilderness lake.

I took her on a winding path through the forest to "Coffee Rock" overlooking the eastern portion of the lake where we often savoured our morning coffee. The trail was uneven, with rocks and tree roots lying hidden beneath the ground cover.

As her feet shuffled along, I suddenly realized that she was becoming frail. I held her hand to keep her from falling. It dawned on me that once upon a time, she had held my hand to guide my first faltering steps, just as I had held my daughter's hand as she learned to walk.

In another flash of understanding, I realized that one day, my daughter would lead my aging body by the hand as well. It seemed like three lifetimes passed before me in that one brief forest happening on the way to Coffee Rock.

Just as a child learns to grasp an adult's loving hand for safety, guidance, comfort, warmth, and companionship, when the roles are reversed, the benefits remain. Even if our memory fails us and our steps falter, we are somehow programmed to trust a loving hand.

Once, I had wondered how my mother would cope with a loss of independence when the time came for her to rely on others to look after her. The answer was evident in a well-worn, wooden plaque that hung above her bed and followed her from home to nursing home. It was her declaration of faith from the prophet Isaiah: "See! I will not forget you … I have carved you on the palm of my hand. Isaiah 49:15".

She knew that she was in the hands of a loving heavenly Father from her first breath until her last.

She gave me an example to follow as she put her hands in the hands of the One Whose love will never let us go. If I happen to forget the lessons that she taught me as her life drew to a close, I'll have my daughter hang that plaque in a prominent place near my bed to remind me when my time comes.

In what ways has God reminded you that your life is lived in the hands of a loving heavenly Father?

Prayer: Loving God, in Your wisdom, You have given us a time for every matter under heaven. You have given us times of work and times of play, times of holding on and times of letting go, times of strength and times of weakness, times to care for others and times to let others care for us. In all the seasons of life, may we know that all of our times are in Your hands. Amen.

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About the author:

Helen Hartai <>
Nestleton, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Very nice. Thanks.

    Beautiful! Thank you!

    A great word for today, Helen.

    Thank you so much for your message.

    Thank you, Helen, for taking the “time “.

    Thank you for that comforting devotional.

    Thank you for this beautiful devotional! God Bless You!

    Beautiful, Helen. It brought a tear to my eye. Keep writing for us.

    Such a thoughtful devotional! It parallels my life so much. Thank you.

    Thank you, Helen, for reminding us of God’s caring presence. Blessings.

    Thank you for that wonderful, comforting message.

    As I am among those who are aging I really appreciate this message.
    Definitely a keeper!
    Thank you.

    Hello Helen,
    What a delight to find a devotional, that not only reminds of God’s care, but is written by a friend. When I read your name and Nestleton, it brought an avalanche of memories. Thank you!

    Thank you, Helen. Very nice message. I am at the part of life where my feet are not as sure as they used to be. Not so easy to walk through the bush at my cottage. But He is with me guiding me along the way.
    God bless.

    Dear Helen,
    What a wonderful devotion this morning. I can relate to this so well. Thank you for reminding me of the love of God in my life and the love of my children as each one cares for me as I lose my independence. To God be the Glory.

    Hi Helen,
    Good words indeed. I lead a Spiritual Talk at the local Long-Term Care Centre, and we discuss this quite often, whatever situation we find ourselves in, God/Jesus will hold our hand.
    Thank you for writing.

    Your devotional touched me this morning. I remember walking with my Mom and holding her hand as we manoeuvred our way along a path in a bird sanctuary. Finally found a bench to sit and just take in the beauty of God’s earth. Soon it will be me needing a little help.
    Thank-you for this.

    Dear Helen,
    Yes, all those of us who have done the same are reminded of the love of our parents, and the reminder of our own mortality when we have to say: goodbye for now.
    Let us be bold and encouraged to show others the way when we travel the same path.

    Thank You Helen, for taking the “time” to write your message, given to you by God, to share with me and others. We constantly need help to remember in whose loving hands we walk each day. If I were to write of all the ways God has taken my hand and guided me in troubled and in happy times, it would fill a scroll a mile long!
    Blessings from Manitoulin Island – our “Coffee Rock”!

    Good morning Helen:
    I absolutely loved your devotional this morning. The picture you paint of the “three generations”, hand in hand, was very evocative for me. I’ve just returned from an overseas trip to visit an elderly aunt, and there were many occasions on our visit that she gripped my hand. I will think of that differently, now that I’ve read your devotional.
    Many blessings.

    Thank you, Helen.
    This really touched my heart as I am now receiving ‘an extra hand’ from younger people where once, not very long ago it seems, I was the one giving the hand. It also reminds me that ‘He, my Father holds my hand and helps me stand all of the time..for which I am so very grateful.
    Bless your sharing.

    Good morning Helen
    Thank you for such a lovely comforting devotional this morning. How wonderful to know that our Lord is with us throughout life.
    As these old legs don’t rise to the occasion sometimes and we (or maybe just me) realize that old age is marching in, we are so blessed.
    Hope you and your husband are keeping well.

    Dear Ms. Hartai,
    Your message today is most timely for me.
    I have been in hospital for a month now and I will be in assisted living when I am able.
    A very difficult thing to face for me. I have always been independent, helping my children and grandchildren!
    My children are very good to me and I know Our Father is always with me. I pray for guidance and His help and thank Him always.
    Thank you, thank you, Helen. God bless you.

    Good morning Helen,
    Thank you so much for your devotional today. I grew up with my Daddy being my pastor, but it was my angel Mother who I always counted on to lead and direct me. When I had a special prayer need, she was the one I called on because I always knew that her prayers were heard by the Lord quicker than any others. I felt that way very young and never got over it. I’m now over 90 and still want to call her for my special prayer requests. I also had and angel Sister who was there to help Daddy and Mother as they were all in a different state. I live with my daughter but am yet quite independent but know that the day is coming when she will have to take me by the hand.
    May the Lord bless you richly,

    Thanks Helen for reminding me how wise our God is.

    Very touching and oh so true word today Helen, thanks for sharing.

    Thank you, Helen, for your very thoughtful Devotional.

    Thank you for this wonderful reminder of God’s love for us, and of dear friends.
    I pray that God continues to bless you as you dwell in the shelter of His hands.


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