I am Held

I Am Held

When your world is a mess, it may seem lonely, but God is always holding us. I am held by something far bigger than myself.

Currently, you are travelling at a speed of about 1,000 miles (1600 kilometers) per hour. That is the speed of the rotation of the earth.

You don’t realise it, but something is holding you to the ground. It’s called gravity.

Most mornings when I get up, I grab a coffee and go out to sit on my deck. It’s dark and looking up to the night sky, I see stars.

It’s the stability of location that has grabbed the attention of people seemingly forever.

With the aid of stars, travellers have plotted their course across oceans and lands. There is a sense of security when we know something bigger than ourselves does not change or alter in course.

I think it’s a kind of being held.

What’s it like for you to be held when all your world might move and be in chaos? Knowing that some things don’t change or alter one iota.

It’s poetry

This morning as I looking up at Venus I was listening to a Lectio Divina reading of Isaiah 40

To whom can you compare God?
    What image can you find to resemble him?
Can he be compared to an idol formed in a mold,
    overlaid with gold, and decorated with silver chains?
Or if people are too poor for that,
    they might at least choose wood that won’t decay
and a skilled craftsman
    to carve an image that won’t fall down!

Haven’t you heard? Don’t you understand?
    Are you deaf to the words of God—
the words he gave before the world began?
    Are you so ignorant?
God sits above the circle of the earth.
    The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!
He spreads out the heavens like a curtain
    and makes his tent from them.
He judges the great people of the world
    and brings them all to nothing.
They hardly get started, barely taking root,
    when he blows on them and they wither.
    The wind carries them off like chaff.

“To whom will you compare me?
    Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.

Look up into the heavens.
    Who created all the stars?
He brings them out like an army, one after another,
    calling each by its name.
Because of his great power and incomparable strength,
    not a single one is missing. Isaiah 40:18-26

God is speaking to us. God is inviting us to look at something tangible and real. The beautiful stars that are held in their place.

I am held

One of the frequent topics people email me about is the sense of some sort of distance between them and God.

That God may not seem to be real to them at this moment. Maybe words of abandonment and loss are used.

They don’t feel held at all. Their world is seemingly spinning out of control.

This last weekend I had the lovely privilege of carrying a deeply sleeping little child in my arms. She was so asleep that as she was passed to me by her mother, she didn’t move or wake.

I walked, carrying this sleeping delight, for about five minutes.

She was being held, but did not know that it was happening.

She eventually woke up and was ok with me but still wanted her mum.

I am held. You are held, and we don’t even know it.

Firming up the affirmation

I am a big believer in speaking the truth to those parts of ourselves that may need deep comfort or truth.

It’s the affirmations we need to say to say to ourselves.

I have three core affirmations I believe speak to our deepest needs.

  1. I am held
  2. I am known
  3. I am loved

I wonder what would happen in you if you said those three brief sentences to yourself four times a day for a week. Waking, lunch, dinner, going to bed. (Is that too difficult?)

It’s training the brain. Speaking the truth into your thinking.

Quotes to consider

  • Man lives by affirmation even more than by bread. Victor Hugo  Les Misérables 
  • The greatest favorites of destiny make mistakes. Our joys are composed of shadow. The supreme smile is God’s alone. Victor Hugo  Les Misérables
  • Francis [of Assisi] taught us, therefore, that the antidote to confusion and paralysis is always a return to simplicity, to what is actually right in front of us, to the nakedly obvious. Richard Rohr.
  • Conventional Christianity (of many different denominations) prefers to see Jesus as a directive or destination rather than this path; for them “way” is a noun, not a verb. On the mapless journey, however, all is movement. There is no destination, only the enveloping presence of love. Diana Butler Bass
  • Spiritual growth begins with the easily overlooked disciplines of attentiveness and surrender. David Benner
  • An embrace involves always a double movement of opening and closing.I open my arms to create space in myself for the other.The open arms are a sign of discontent at being myself only and of desire to include the other.They are an invitation to the others to come in and feel at home with me, to belong to me.In an embrace I also close my arms around the others – not tightly, so as to crush and assimilate them forcefully into myself, for that would not be an embrace but a concealed power-act of exclusion; but gently, so as to tell them that I do not want to be without them in their otherness.

    I want them in their openness.

    I want them to remain independent and true to their genuine selves, to maintain their identity and as such become part of me so that they can enrich me with what they have and I do not’ Judith M Gundry-Volf, Miroslav Volf

Questions to answer

  1. What is it like to be held? – Scarey? Comforting?
  2. What fosters an awareness of being held?
  3. Read the final quote above about being embraced. What emotions does this stir up in you?

Formation Exercise

  • For the next week, speak four times a day to your heart the affirmations of ‘I am Loved, I am Held, I am Known.’ At the end of the week note what might have happened in you as you have done this exercise.

Further reading

Being Faithful with the Little

A Simple First Place Prayer

A Place of Feathers

God Sets the Lonely in Families

Barry Pearman

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

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