In His Hands

A few weeks ago, I had the joyful experience of getting to babysit my friend’s precious two year old, Caleb.  After discussing where Mama was and explaining the concept of college [which is surprisingly hard to do!], before bedtime I asked him what songs he wanted to sing.  We went through some greatest hits – Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – and the last song he chose was an oldie but a goodie that I remember from my own Sunday School days.

He’s got the whole world in His hands

He’s got you and me brother, in His hands

He’s got you and me sister, in His hands,

He’s got the whole world in His hands

Caleb and I were sitting cross-legged on the floor as we sang, his toddler knees pressed against mine, as he enthusiastically enacted the hand motions that go along with the song, smiling at me with delight as his pure baby voice joined with mine.

He’s got the whooooooole world in His hands

As I watched his face, full of delight and concentration as he raised his carefully cupped hands upward with the music, I felt my eyes feels with tears.

Amen, Caleb, Amen.

If I’ve accumulated one ounce of wisdom in my 33 years of life, it’s this – life is freakin’ hard, friends. This season has been one of endings to things that have been deep blessings, and letting them go is hard.  Stepping from the known of what has been good into the unknown of the future is scary. The chasm between what I do deeply want my life to look and feel and sound like and the realities feel hard and sad and overwhelming sometimes.

Layered on top of what’s happening in my own life, I read the news about mass shootings and abortion bans, or visit a civil rights museum or have a conversation with someone who works with refugees and I feel the wind knocked out of me with the injustice of the world, of how cruel we are to each other.

We all cope with the brokeness and uncertainty of the world in different ways, and my default setting is control and hustle.  I just want a plan, a checklist, 12 steps to take to find true love and my dream job and solve every social justice issue while I’m at it.  I get into fix-it mode and I start to buy into the lie that if I just try hard enough, control enough, clench my fists tight enough, I can hold onto the good and avoid the bad.

Life constantly, mercifully, sometimes harshly, reminds me of how profoundly delusional that is.  I’m like the toddler on a bike thinking I’m propelling myself forward all by myself when it’s really the parent holding the handle behind me making the whole thing go.


My constant reminder to myself lately – something I literally do when I’m feeling overwhelmed – has been to go from clenched fists to open palms.  To go from a posture of trying to hold tightly to what is good from a place of fear and striving and wanting to maintain the illusion of control, to a posture of letting go, holding circumstances and people and relationships loosley and with love. A posture of being open to receive the good, good things God has for me, because He loves me. A posture of trusting in that love rather than my own checklist.

As I watched Caleb raise his tiny open hands, I was reminded of the exhortations sprinkled throughout the bible to be like little children – free from the layers of coping and striving and theological gymnastics we grown-ups are so adept at.  The reminder to simply trust, with open palms.

I just completed a 9 month intensive theological Fellowship course where we dug so deep into theology my brain hurt, and still the most profound lesson I’ve learned about God lately came from a two year old.  I love that. I love that with all my heart.

He’s got my career in His hands

He’s got my friends and family in His hands

He’s got my hopes and dreams in His hands

He’s got my deepest, darkest fears in His hands

He’s got my joy in His hands

He’s got my past and my future in His hands

He’s got the scared women and the abortion providers and the protestors in His hands
He’s got the oppressors and the oppressed in His hands

He’s got the world leaders and the homeless people on my street in His hands

He’s got the whole world in His hands

I was talking with a friend the other day about how often we get sucked into the false thinking of the world around us, especially in the Bay Area – that we can control outcomes if we just find the exact right thing to do or say or achieve, for ourselves and for the people we love.

The truth – the glorious and grounding truth – is that we don’t control outcomes.  Our job is to love God and love our neighbors, full stop. Our job is in the inputs, and God controls the outputs.

I’m trying to lean into that truth, and unclench my fists – to let go of the fear, and to receive the love.

Thanks for the reminder Caleb  – xoxoAuntieMary