I’ll be by your side wherever you fall, In the dead of night whenever you call,
please don’t fight these hands that are holding you… – tenth avenue north
I listen to a radio station, K-Love, and I really enjoy it very much. It plays all christian music, and while some of the songs are cheesy, I never feel like I need to scrub my ears out or go to confession while I’m listening to it.
The lyrics above are from a song called “By your side” that is played pretty frequently. I find myself humming it during the day, because the tune is so catchy. Sometimes when music is on as background noise, it’s easy to overlook the lyrics. But these are worth listening to.
The chorus, which says, “please don’t fight these hands that are holding you”, comes to mind during the day sometimes when I am in fact, holding my squirmy baby girl. She is getting more and more adventurous, wanting to try things for herself. She sits up with some help, and wants to reach her toys. If I am holding her and she wants something, she will twist and squirm, and fight against me to try and get what she wants, even if it’s something dangerous like a sharp object or something that could hurt her.
Sounds familiar huh?
How many times have I done that myself? Pushing God away, so I can reach out to grab the very things which will hurt me? Daily? Maybe not, but close enough. I am surely a rebellious child in the arms of our ever patient God more often than I should be. While my precious baby has the innocence of not knowing these things she grabs for can hurt her, I know better. The things I grasp out for, the sins I cling to, I know they hurt me. But I fight like hell to hold on to them anyway.
The most remarkable thing is, that it’s not just us that the hands of God hold, like the most gentle, most creative of potters. It’s all of the created world, all of the cosmos, and our very salvation.
Look at these hands and my side, They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world’s sin, So I could carry you in
And give you life, I want to give you life
This song speaks such a simple truth to my heart which is so battered by the world. It’s the tender heart of our God pleading with us,
“Please don’t fight me. I know you. I love you. I made you to love me. Please let me love you.”
What kind of a God do we have, who pleads with us simply to let ourselves be loved? In a world where our value as people is increasingly determined by what we do, make, create, consume; how radical to hear the message that all that matters is to love and be loved? We have a God who makes Himself available to us every moment of every day, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist!
And what do I do? I get stressed out by the baby crying, or the messy house, and try to find salvation in a chocolate bar. Or a bottle of wine. Or reality tv. Or whatever the crutch du-jour is. Twisting and squirming in the hands which hold everything, and hold it together.
And right there, is Jesus, patiently waiting for me to call on him, quietly reminding me like the most tender of parents, “please don’t fight these hands that are holding you.”