Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

“And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying,
Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
And enlarge my territory,
That Your hand would be with me…”
1 Chronicles 4: 9-10a (NIV)

The skies seem as though they will be blue and clear as morning begins to break over the area. A beautiful reminder of yesterday’s celebration of the eighteenth birthday of our elder granddaughter, Hannah.

Celebrating her life yesterday reminded me of a time many years ago when Lynda and I visited Busch Gardens in Tampa with our son, Nathan, daughter-in-law, Amy, and our only granddaughter at the time, Hannah. It was a glorious day being there with them, and in particular seeing all the exhibits and the animals through the eyes of our precious granddaughter. At one point during our visit, we came upon one of those huge playground areas with ladders, slides, rope walkways and hiding places, all of which towered above the walkway below. By the excited words Hannah began to say, and watching her bolt toward the apparatus, we knew we were going to be there for awhile.

Hannah, under her own power and by her own initiative, not needing my help—although close at hand—began to climb one of the ladders that led to a landing and then made her way up the wooden platforms and stairs, around and around, to the very top. You could tell she was very pleased with herself.

But when she reached the top of the apparatus, she stopped, for there in front of her was a rope bridge that spanned the walkway below, leading to the tower on the other side and eventually the way down. She could see her Mommy, Daddy and Mimi below her through the ropes, as they encouraged her to walk across the rope bridge. But she stood there—frozen—afraid to move forward and afraid to move back.

I suspect that all of us have been at a similar point in our lives. Maybe we find ourselves at such a point today. Standing in front of an intimidating expanse of a “rope bridge” we know we need to cross, and if our fear of the height—with seemingly no safety net below—isn’t enough to stall our journey, we often find that the other obstacles to crossing over are just too great for us to even consider taking another step.

Perhaps we find ourselves at a point where we are having trouble making ends meet. Perhaps a family member is struggling to find their way. Another failure in our lives has left us with a feeling of hopelessness for the future. An illness has hit us or someone we love. We have lost a loved one, and can’t seem to take another step, and don’t know which way to go if we could. If we allow them to, things like that have a way of causing us to miss the present, and negatively color our future.

Whatever it is, wherever we find ourselves, we just can’t seem to find the power to step out and try to make it across whatever chasm, obstruction, challenge, or opportunity we are facing.

And if we attempt it only under our own power—we may be right.

But then there’s the example of Jabez.

The name he had been given meant “pain” or “he will cause pain” and he carried that name at a time in Hebrew history where names were thought to define one’s future—and in many cases became a self-fulfilling prophesy. By Hebrew standards of the day, Jabez was a loser. But Jabez refused to accept what his name forecast for him, he wanted more from life. He had learned about a God Who had done wonderful and powerful things for his forefathers, and he believed that this same God could take his ordinary life and make it extraordinary.

In God’s power, with God’s hand upon him.

The power of the Father’s touch. Maybe you don’t feel it right now. Maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve felt the hand of the Father and felt a peace in your soul knowing His hand was upon you. But haven’t you known it before? Haven’t you felt it in a parent who stayed up all night while you were sick, or a friend who stood beside you when all hope seemed to vanish? Haven’t you felt it in a hand holding yours at a difficult moment? Or in a prayer for healing and comfort?

If we stop for a moment, we can each remember that at one time or another recently we have all felt the Father’s touch, a touch we just may need to feel again today. For there’s power in His touch to carry us into new opportunities and renewing, refreshing rain and the blue skies of promise which follow.

And so back to Hannah’s dilemma. There we stood at the edge of the rope bridge, with me just behind Hannah watching as she looked back and forth across the length of that intimidating expanse of rope bridge. Then after a brief moment she looked back with a knowing glance over her shoulder at me, and reached up toward me—in a gesture which said to her Granddaddy that she needed my help. In that moment she needed me to put my hand upon her.

And so taking both of her hands in mine, she did something she’d never done before. With my touch, and dependent upon my power—which she trusted because of her past experiences with me—we crossed the rope bridge together.

What rope bridges are you standing before today? He is there to help you across to the other side and into the sunshine of a brand new day.

Just look back, reach back, and take His hand—then move on into all He has planned for your life.

Happy Birthday, precious girl!

Always remember, God’s got you, just keep reaching for and taking His hand!

In His Name—Scott