In the eyes and hearts of many people in the world today, there is evidence of doubt, fear, and hopelessness. Much of the insecurity in the world has filtered into our homes and personal lives. No matter what our age or circumstance, we all have a need to know that we have power in the present and hope in the future.
Listen to the words of Mormon: “Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power?” (Morm. 5:23).
Hands are one of the symbolically expressive parts of the body. In Hebrew, yad, the most common word for “hand,” is also used metaphorically to mean power, strength, might (see William Wilson, Old Testament Word Studies , 205). Thus, hands signify power and strength.
The extended hand of our living prophet, President Gordon B. Hinckley, strengthens, lifts, and inspires people all across the world.
To be in the hands of God would suggest that we are not only under His watchful care but also that we are guarded and protected by His wondrous power.
Throughout the scriptures, reference is made to the hand of the Lord. His divine assistance is evidenced over and over again. His powerful hands created worlds, and yet they were gentle enough to bless the little children.
Consider John’s words describing the resurrected and glorified Savior: “And when I saw him, … he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; … I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore” (Rev. 1:17–18). When He lays His hand upon us, we, like John, can be alive in Him.
Twenty-four years ago, our tiny newborn son struggled for his life in the intensive care unit of a hospital. His lungs were not fully developed because of his premature birth, and he desperately fought for each breath of air. He was so small but with so much will to live. As young and inexperienced parents, my courageous and ever faithful wife, Jan, and I prayed that the Lord’s hand would reach out and somehow help our baby boy continue to breathe. As I put my trembling hand through the small opening into the isolette, I felt so inadequate and powerless. I took hold of the tiny but perfect hand of our newborn son, and there was a powerful spiritual connection never to be forgotten. Two fingers from each of my hands covered his tiny head as I administered to him.
Our desire for him was pure, but we knew that his earthly experience rested in the Lord’s hands and not in ours or in the medical team who cared for him. I then humbly realized that my quivering hands held power and authority well beyond my own. My fingers on his head symbolized the placing of God’s hands and power upon our son. Following that blessing, in a moment of emotional peace, my eternal companion and I looked at each other across the isolette, feeling the spirit of renewed hope and comfort born of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and in the personal effect of His Atonement. It was a powerful witness of His love for an infant son who had just left His presence. We were then better prepared to accept His will for our son. We truly felt we had placed our hands in the hands of the Savior. It was as if the Savior’s own hands provided the critical respiratory aid, allowing our son to breathe and gain sustenance. With each breath and with each incremental bit of progress, we expressed prayerful thanks. Today, our healthy son and his indebted parents continue to be so grateful for the Savior’s willing hands.
Among the supernal promises of coming forth in the morning of the First Resurrection and inheriting “thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers” are the additional promises of “all heights and depths” (D&C 132:19). The great plan of happiness includes a proverbial roller coaster of challenging times along with the most joyful times. Yes, we all have our moments of difficulty and heartbreak. Occasionally, they are so difficult for us that we just want to give up. There are times when our steps are unsteady, when we feel discouraged and even reach out in desperation.
Elder Holland reminds us that the “symbol of the cup that cannot pass is a cup that comes in our life as well as in [the Savior’s]. It is in a much lesser way, to a much lesser degree, but it comes often enough to teach us that we have to obey” (Trusting Jesus , 42).
Every one of us needs to know that we can go on in the strength of the Lord. We can put our hand in His, and we will feel His sustaining presence lift us to heights unattainable alone.
When a stricken father brought his terribly afflicted son to Jesus, Mark records that “Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose” (Mark 9:27).
We must trust in the Lord. If we give ourselves freely to Him, our burdens will be lifted and our hearts will be consoled.
Elder Scott has recently counseled: “Trust in God … no matter how challenging the circumstance. … Your peace of mind, your assurance of answers to vexing problems, your ultimate joy depend upon your trust in Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ” (“The Sustaining Power of Faith in Times of Uncertainty and Testing,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2003, 76, 78).
How do we learn to trust? How do we learn to extend our hand and connect to the comfort provided by the Lord?
Clear instruction came from the Lord to Joseph Smith: “Learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit, and you shall have peace in me. … Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you” (D&C 19:23, 38).
Here are four keys:
Seek the Spirit
The Lord will provide sustenance and support if we are willing to open the door and receive His hand of divine assistance.
President Thomas S. Monson reminds us of the Savior’s willing hand of rescue: “Adored is the hand that saves—even the hand of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. … With that hand he knocks upon the door of our understanding” (“Hands,” Tambuli, Mar. 1991, 5; Ensign, Aug. 1990, 5).
Recently our daughter and son-in-law were preparing to enjoy an evening together. They were rushing around trying to get ready and give the babysitter some last-minute instructions. They didn’t really notice the sad countenance of one of the children and the tears in the eyes of another until they were at the door, ready to leave. They realized that their children were apprehensive about their mommy and daddy being away from them. So their parents gathered their four precious children around them. Their daddy asked them to put their hands out in front of them. All eight tiny hands were extended. Mom and Dad then kissed each hand and told them that when they missed them or they were frightened or needed to feel their love, they could put their little hands up to their cheeks and they would be able to feel Mommy’s and Daddy’s presence anytime. They were so happy, and when our daughter and son-in-law left, they saw four little children standing at the window with smiles on their faces and hands on their cheeks.
They trusted their parents. They knew they were loved.
Just as little children trust, each of us must have that same childlike, unreserved trust. We must all remember that we are sons and daughters of God and that He loves us very much. If we truly understand who we are, we will have an unfailing source of hope and comfort.
We can never complete “the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1) without placing our hand in the Lord’s.
Several years ago, our only daughter decided to compete in a marathon. She trained and worked very hard, along with some of her friends. The race was difficult, and there were times when she wanted to quit. But she kept going, just concentrating on one step at a time. As she was approaching the middle part of the course, she heard someone behind her shout out, “Blind man on your left.”
She turned her head only to see a blind man overtake her, holding the hand of another man. They were both running the race. As they passed, she could see how tightly the blind man held the hand of his friend.
Overcome with her own physical pain, she was lifted as she watched these two men run hand in hand. He who could see was motivated by his blind friend, and the blind man depended upon the connection he had to his friend’s hand. Our daughter knew the blind man could never finish the race alone. She was inspired by the trust of the blind man and the devoted love of his friend.
In like manner, the Savior has stretched forth His hand to each of us so that we don’t have to run alone. “To those [of us] who [occasionally] stagger or stumble, He is there to steady and strengthen” (Trusting Jesus, 43). As we advance toward the finish line, He will be there to save us; and for all this He gave His life.
Imagine the wounds in His hands. His weathered hands, yes, even His hands of torn flesh and physical sacrifice, give our own hands greater power and direction.
It is the wounded Christ who leads us through our moments of difficulty. It is He who bears us up when we need more air to breathe or direction to follow or even more courage to continue.
If we will keep the commandments of God and walk hand in hand with Him in His paths, we will go forward with faith and never feel alone.
Trust in His promise of eternal life, and allow peace and hope to distill upon you.
When we connect with the Author of Peace and with His perfect and redeeming love, then we can come to know the reality of the Lord’s promise: “I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying …, Fear not; I will help thee” (Isa. 41:13).
I testify of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and living Savior.
I testify that He lives and extends His loving hand to each of us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.