When my sister and I were little, our Saturday afternoons were spent on a shopping trip with our mother. Before our city’s large mall was built in the early 1970’s, we had an outdoor shopping center with a large department store where we would go to the second floor to look at the toys or shop for an Easter outfit or find new summer pajamas. On the first floor was a small nut shop that served little white bags of fresh roasted nuts from a roaster that turned inside a glass case, their warm smell wafting through the entire store. A fancy restaurant served lunch on fine china. After leaving the store, we always walked next door to Fannie Mae where we were allowed to pick out one piece of chocolate candy. Our last stop was the Hallmark store, with rows of pretty stationary and lovely candles.
Those shopping trips were special to us, a little reward for a good week at school and a clean bedroom on Saturday mornings. Mom had one rule on those trips, my sister and I each held on to one of her hands so that we wouldn’t get separated from her. No matter how big the crowd, we always felt safe holding her hands as she led us through the aisles.
Most adults who had the experience of getting lost in a big department store as a child still remember the ordeal years later, that fear when you suddenly realized that you were alone, only strange faces surrounding you. There are times in life, even for grown-ups, when circumstances become overwhelming and we need to know that God is with us, and He has made that promise to those who trust in His care:
I am holding you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God—and I say to you, don’t be afraid; I am here to help you. Isaiah 41:13
While some of our days are like a walk through our favorite store on a lazy Saturday, filled with pleasant things familiar to us, other days bring difficulties and pain and we feel alone in a strange place of unknowns. Only when we take God’s Hand through putting our trust in Him, allowing Him to lead us through the unknowns, can we be assured that we are truly safe.