Holding On and Taking Hold

Like lighting a touch paper. Any little thing wrong and I lose it. Beware anyone who washes a dish not quite to my liking, or forgets something I’ve asked them to do, or leaves socks stuffed among the sofa cushions. I’m angry about petty things. Is it hormones? Am I losing my mind? Or, is everyone else really to blame?! Maybe something else.

I knew I had to make some time to think about this when my first instinct was to grab my R.E.M. CD to play in the car, flicking through the tracks to find track 4 on Automatic for the People again and again – flashback to the early ’90s. ‘Everybody hurts’ played around five times during one journey just so I could wallow. I’m not often like this. ‘Sometimes everything is wrong…’

The song was once voted ‘most depressing song of all time’, I believe. I find it kind of consoling instead. After all everybody does hurt sometimes.

The last few weeks, packed with activity and some really happy events, have also mixed with a few disappointments, and some sad things happening in the lives of a number of people I love. A number of different situations. Things I’m not able to talk or even write about. When I can’t sort out my feelings by talking about things I become a bomb waiting to explode. All my emotional nerve endings raw. I get overwhelmed.

Funnily enough I didn’t do as much wallowing as I intended on the car journey. I tried to sing a long, I cried, then I couldn’t help but cry out to God. As I did shout out my complaint I realized I’m more than a little angry about some things. Frustrated. Disappointed. Feeling powerless to help. The little car journey, the pause, gave me a chance to untangle some of my feelings in the presence of my Heavenly Father who even lets me express my anger in front of Him…even in the car with R.E.M. still playing in the background. Even in the mess of emotions I’m thankful I can cry out and He hears.

The song ‘Everybody hurts’ doesn’t have the answer. It leaves me with a bit of dissatisfaction. ‘So hold on’ is not good enough for me. While listening to it I know I’m sure of what I do hold on to, not a vague hope, a certain one. The One who keeps me sane when all around is confusion. I do know through it all Jesus is holding on to me just as He is holding those who I’m concerned for.

Today as I thought a little more on the subject another phrase came to mind. ‘Take hold.’ Again from scripture.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Philippians 3:12

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12

 I realize the time spent stewing on things, wallowing, or getting angry, is better spent taking hold of some truth and going into battle with it. Jesus took hold of my life for a reason so I’m going to grab on, press on, keep going with strength from Him, trusting in His faithfulness – even for the situations that I find hard to deal with and understand.

I’m not one for ‘thees’, ‘thous’ and ‘thys’, but this hymn speaks of these things rather well.

Fight the good fight with all thy might!
Christ is thy strength, and Christ thy right;
Lay hold on life, and it shall be
Thy joy and crown eternally.

Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.

Cast care aside, lean on thy Guide;
His boundless mercy will provide;
Trust, and thy trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its life, and Christ its love.

Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changeth not, and thou art dear;
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.

John Samuel Bewley Monsell


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