Faith matters: We all need a hand to hold

Guiding touch: Both children and adults need someone to help them and a hand to hold as they walk through life.

Guiding touch: Both children and adults need someone to help them and a hand to hold as they walk through life.

What is the problem with our world?

When my children were very small they held their father and mother’s hand tightly and felt safe. We’d come to a road and up would reach their little hand and rest it in mine.

But more was at rest in those moments than their hand. Their lives found rest in a father and mother’s safe hand.

When they were older and let go of their father and mother’s hand was when life became less restful and independence introduced danger and, at times, heartache. A father became frustrated and angry and a mother grieved and shed some tears along the way.

They are all adults now and, like their father, we all admit that life was a lot less complicated when our hands rested in the father or mother’s. It was a safe place.

Their hand was the place from which to draw wisdom, to learn integrity – integrity being the wholeness of life where the one whose hand we entrusted ours to, was the same hand in private as it was in public, consistent in all things and honourable.

Similar to our earthly homes, the problems with our world begin when we launch ourselves to independence from our heavenly Father’s hand. That launch has brought significant unrest, seen us caught up in foolishness and dabbling in evils and sins that leave us and others broken.

The absence of a heavenly Father also leaves us with no hand to hold and no confidence that what is broken can ever be fixed.

I think the nursery rhyme Humpty Dumpty depicts this broken and hopeless reality well.

Anyone who has held a parent’s hand would probably know that Humpty Dumpty had an unsolvable problem. The tragedy is that by teaching it to our children, we reinforce that what is broken can’t be fixed. And in personifying Humpty as more than an egg, we may inadvertently shape little minds to think brokenness is hopelessness.

Like Humpty, humanity has a problem that has left us broken. I am sure that when Humpty left that wall - whether he jumped, was pushed or just fell - watching the crash ahead of him, he wished he had held a hand to keep him safe.

Humpty’s situation as you know was hopeless. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men were unable to put Humpty together again.

I am sure they tried psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, priests and even friends and family members, but some breakages just seem irreparable.

Humpty didn’t need those incapable of offering repair like king’s horses or king’s men. But the great sadness of the nursery rhyme was the very apparent absence of the king.

That’s a very familiar leadership failure when problems seem unsolvable - leaders who are noticeably absent, who make themselves scarce when problems seem insurmountable.

Someone has written another verse to Humpty Dumpty that I think our world is desperate to hear.

It is a verse that finds hope not in all the king’s men and all the king’s horses but in the King of life himself – a son who is God’s son and who seeks to put our hands back into the safe hands of our Heavenly Father. A king who makes Himself present amidst insurmountable brokenness and gives His life to our repair.  

Jesus Christ came to our wall,

Jesus Christ died for our fall;

So that regardless of death and in spite of sin,

Through grace, He might put us all together again.

Next time you teach Humpty Dumpty to your children, you might also introduce Jesus. What kind of parent doesn’t want to see their children in the safe hand of the One who can offer healing and repair beyond brokenness?

And what hope has a child who has no hope beyond brokenness?