Note: A version of this post appeared in February 2012, the month Uncle Kevin went home. That post—I Hold Your Hand—was the first post written for JoyfullyPressingOn.
No, Mom —no! It’s very scary. I don’t want to go. Pleeeeease—nooooo!
Waterpark guests stared. Lifeguards raised their brows. I tightened my grip on the four year-old’s hand.
Gabe’s four-year old cousin and his six year-old brother couldn’t get up the stairs fast enough. So yes, by golly, Gabe would try it once.
Onward, then—his screaming and squirming matched by my firm hold.
You’ll love it Bud. It’s not very scary. It’s very fun.
But the boy didn’t buy it.
No, Mom. I’m too scared. The green slide is too dark and too steep and it goes outside. Pleeeease. No!”
For a split second, wavered. But then I envisaged Gabe’s goggled grinning face bursting from the chute and toward the stairway I strode, struggling boy in tow.
By the first landing, his body had stopped protesting, a couple landings ahead of his mouth. So I lowered him, but to prevent retreat, I did not relax my hold. Hand in hand, we climbed, whine-singing, “Why Mom? It’s too scary. (x2) Please don’t make me go down.”
You can sing it to the tune of “Skip to my Lou.”
One hundred-twelve steps up we hit the summit, a relentless, omniscient mom and her reluctant, scared-to-death son.
At the sight of the gaping green mouth, Gabe made one loud, last stand.
No, Mom. Please, no.
It passed and I plopped us square on the blue tube, and wrapped him tight.
You’ll be back ten more times, assured the sage teen who pushed us off.
There we were. Together on our tube, sliding along through the seafoam tunnel, awash in mid-morning sun. No longer did Gabe project fear. He broadcasted joy.
And as the tube splashed into the pool, he burst with those words I hoped to hear,
That was so fun! Let’s go again.
In the course of the next hour, with help from Grandpa (2 runs), Grandma (2 runs), Aunt Charissa (1 run), Aunt Danielle (1 run) and mom (the remaining 4 runs), Gabe enjoyed not one, not two, but ten runs down the feared and dreaded, once very scary green waterslide.
Not Strong Enough
What’s your very scary?
Is it fear of that your pain or the heartache will never away? That the grief and loneliness will always stay? That your prodigal won’t come home, that you love is in vain, or even that your faith will fail?
Rest assured: Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you. (J.I. Packer, Knowing God). He will hold you fast.
From the first run down the green chute to the last breath on this green earth, the Lord takes his children by the hand and walks us through every very scary.
His Unseen Hand
This post was written in memory of my generous, joking, winking, eye-twinkling, and fearless Uncle Kevin. On Sunday, February 19th, 2012, God took hold of Uncle Kev’s hand and walked him home.
In the nearly ten years since, the truth of God’s unseen hand gripping mine means immeasurably more now than it did then. Then, I felt it as a parent clinging to a scared child and as an observer of a dear soul fading into glory.
Now, I feel it more as a fragile parent-child whose hand is gripped by the Everlasting Father. I feel it more as a servant looking to the hand of her master, waiting for mercy (Psalm 123:2). Now I know what that I only cling to him because his hand upholds me.
Speaking of holding, had he been here Uncle Kev would have held his first grandchild, little dark-haired, rosy-cheeked Ellie last month. I know there are no tears in heaven. I hope there is a beaming Grandpa Kevin amazed by the wonder of Ellie.
For I the Lord your God hold your right hand; it is I who say to you. ‘Fear not, I am the one who helps you.’
I am the one who helps you, declares the LORD, your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.