“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life . . .” (Psalm 23:6)
In my spiritual battles against temptations and the lies of Satan, God speaks great words of assurance. He reminds me, “. . . You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand . . . . Those who strive against you shall be as nothing . . . . 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.’” (Isaiah 41:9–13)
Twice in that past few months when I was struggling with intense spiritual warfare, but had not said anything to anyone about it, a friend took my hand and just held it, no reason given and no comment made. The Lord spoke clearly that this was Him using one of His servants to show me that He was with me, holding my hand. What a blessing. The memory of it brings tears of thankfulness.
It also shows the power of God to show goodness and mercy in any situation. The Bible is filled with examples. For instance, those familiar with the story of Esther will recall the way God kept His people in a difficult situation. They were governed by a people whose king had been fooled by a man named Haman. Haman hated the Jews and plotted to have the king issue “a decree to have them all destroyed, young and old, women and children, in one day, and to plunder their goods.” (Esther 3:13–15)
However, God had already put Esther in the favor of the king. He also had given her uncle a situation where he had exposed an earlier plot to kill the king. Then He kept the king awake one night. In sleeplessness, he had someone read to him from “the book of memorable deeds” which told him what Mordecai had done. The king was eager to reward this man who saved him, not realizing he was a Jew.
In the meantime, Esther wisely planned a way to expose Haman’s plot, but the rule in this culture was that decrees issued by the king could not be reversed. In a ‘strange’ series of events, Haman was hung on the “gallows prepared for Mordecai, whose word saved the king” and the Jews were granted the right to defend themselves against those obeying the decree to kill them. “On the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them . . . And no one could stand against them, for the fear of them had fallen on all peoples.” (Esther 9:1–2)
God took the evil plans of Haman and turned them back on him. He, arranged circumstances to make a good plan instead and as a result, His people experienced goodness and mercy.
As I look back over my life, there have been times when I questioned God’s wisdom and the way He managed my affairs. But now I am convinced that He knows what He is doing. Light has appeared in darkness and faith has grown through despair. His goodness and mercy followed me, and will follow me all the days of my life. Besides that, whenever I am afraid, He insists on holding my hand.