20th April 2011

He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
John 10:27-30 (NKJV)

A young friend of mine was removed by Social Services from her parents when she was very young. They took her into care, and then had her fostered. A little later they arranged for her parents to go and see her. During the visit her father took her up in his arms. He tossed her up in the air, but he threw her up so hard she hit the ceiling and instead of catching her, he let her fall to the floor.  He laughed—he thought it was funny. A new thick carpet and underlay had just been fitted, which may have been what saved her from injury. She didn’t utter a sound while her parents were there. It was only afterwards as she lay in her foster parent’s arms that she cried, and through her tears she managed three words: “see, no, again”. She has never seen them again.

Before we condemn her father out of hand (sorry, no pun intended), even the best of us let each other fall. By dancing around the truth and saying that Sarah was his sister, Abraham effectively dropped his wife into the Pharaoh’s harem. Sarah, in turn, made sure that Hagar was abandoned in the desert. In his efforts to hide his adultery with Bathsheba, David ordered Joab to make arrangements for Uriah to fall in battle. For whatever twisted reason, Judas arranged for Jesus to fall into the hands of those who wanted his life.

In moments of self-delusion we may imagine that we are not like that, but the truth is that we can’t truly rely on each other; that may be an aspiration, but it’s not a reality. We don’t always do what we promise:  lookout for one another regardless; uphold each other to our own detriment; or meet others’ needs whatever the cost.  

And while it may come as no surprise that we let each other down, the scripture tells us that God has a firm hold on us. Yet, as Jesus hung on the cross it looked as if God had let him down. At least that’s what the rulers, the priests, and the crowds thought as they taunted him with the words of Psalm 22:8—“He trusted in the LORD, Let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him.” But Jesus had promised us everlasting life. At the Father’s will, he did what it took to give us that life by giving his life for us. In his unfailing love, he took all of us, and all of our sin, into his hands—so in that, in him, we all died and all of our sin died with him. As we were in his hands in death, so we would still be in his hands at his resurrection, when he would carry us back to the Father, our lives safe and secure, hidden with God in Christ (Colossians 3:3). 

Prayer
Now to him who is able to keep us from falling and to present us without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever.
Amen
(
Jude 24 and 25 – RSV) 

Study by Hilary Buck 

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