Here a handshake can last forever. Offering a hand to greet is constant. Over and over and over again. It is deep in the culture. And the hand holding. So different than what I am used to. Though I have spent a good deal of time in Africa, this has never been natural for me. Walking to the market, someone grabs my hand. It would be okay if it were just for a moment, but no, they keep holding on. If it were up to me, I would pull away after a gentle touch that made sure they knew that I cared. But it's not up to me. So hand in hand we walk swinging our arms together. Men do it even more frequently. I laugh to think of what my male friends at home would do when another man slipped his hand into a firm grasp and held on tight. Young fellows in their twenties, old men with grey hair, all with hands clasped together in friendship. It is awkward for me. When their hand tangle in mine, I always consider which way to break free - a fake cough, or pretend a sneeze is coming, or act as if I have to move my hand to shift the load I carry... There are just precious few people with whom I want to hold hands.
But His hands are wonderful to me. His hands are perfect to rest in. Perfect to hide in. They hold us up when we are weak, and guide us when the path is rough. So often we are found wringing our own hands, not realizing that He offers His. We get busy with our own lives, our own walk, our own stumbling, and forget that we can hold the hand of someone who can steady us through life. Like a toddler, we pull away to go on our own, only to land on our tush shortly thereafter. Oh to remember His presence and to slip my small hand into His large one. I want to instinctively cling to His hand, just as a small child does to the Father she adores.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and he delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. Psalm 37: 23, 24