Encouragement

He Holds Us Fast

The morning light was still hours away from creeping through our windows yesterday morning when I woke up and stumbled downstairs to the coffee pot at five o’clock. Rubbing my eyes thoroughly and rummaging through the fridge to find the creamer helped wake me up and by the time I curled up in my usual spot on the couch with my coffee, Bible, and journal, I was well awake and alert. It was the day before my birthday and just as I always do, I read through the last year of my journal.

Every year before it’s been a very enjoyable thing to do. Memories that made me smile, ones that made me laugh, and always a few that brought on a cringe. But this year was different. This year was hard to read through.

Exactly one year ago yesterday, my journal entry opened with, “Lord, I don’t understand and I really don’t know where to go from here. I feel worn and empty and alone. Can You hold me fast?” Many entries from this last year were similar.

And here I am. One year later looking back and seeing the hard days and the long nights, but woven in between are the endless mercies of God and the joy that comes in knowing that there is perfection stamped on His every act.

He can indeed hold me fast. He held me fast.

What wondrous love

This last year was hard in a lot of different ways and maybe yours was too. If that’s true, I want to tell you something that made a hard year end up being a most beautiful gift: you may very well have lost your grip, messed up, or failed, but dear friend, your hope is not in you. Your security is not in your perfectly laid out plans or your ability to get things done right. Your rest is not in the fact that you have it all under control or that you’re strong enough. Your hope, your security, and your identity are in Christ and He cannot fail. His promises will never fade. His love will never waver. His power will continually be perfected in your weakness and it’s okay to find that you are helpless in His hands, for I have come to believe that is the safest of all havens.

Christ offers us an unconditional love and in order to fully embrace that love, we must first come to terms with the fact we don’t deserve it and we cannot earn it. His love is one that is rooted in His perfection and holiness, not in anything we have to offer or become. As long as we think we did something, have something, or can become something worth the love of Christ, we will never see it in it’s fullness.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:6-7 ESV

Here’s the bottom line: you and I are helpless. We are weak. We are sinners. And we were His enemies. But the love of Christ was displayed on Calvary when He was crucified by those He came to save. The King of glory, who never once came close to sinning, died the death you and I deserve. Our unimaginable debt was paid by the One to whom it was owed. Our legal standing before Him went from guilty to innocent; from red stained to whiter than snow.

And He didn’t stop there.

His love and grace took us from being orphans to being the children of the One we rebelled against. The One we had hated. He opened heaven’s doors to the vilest of sinners, and rather than letting us merely live amongst His household, He calls us His own sons and daughters. He tells us of the place waiting for us in glory. He promises to never leave us, to make sure that we are not lost. He promises to hold us fast until we stand with Him in the home which awaits us.

What wondrous love is this, oh my soul?

I cannot try to understand it, this powerful and unconditional love that I do not deserve, but I have come to believe that this love, so strong as to save it’s enemies, is indeed strong enough to complete the work Christ began. Do you doubt that the Savior who died and rose again in your place will fail to hold you fast in the storms of life? Do you wonder whether or not the King who has prepared a place for you and adopted you as His child really means it when He says He will withhold no good thing?

We have failed, yes. But He has not. He will not.

Look to the cross

Jesus told us we would have tribulation. Tears are no strangers to believers. Suffering and sorrow in this fallen world are guaranteed. The Enemy wants these things to cause us to doubt the love that set us free. Whether it’s in the form of “how could a good God let this happen?” or “I’ve fallen too far for His grace to reach,” when these lies strike, we must do what people throughout all of Scripture and church history have done. We must look back.

Look back to the cross where love and mercy met and the enemies of God became His children. Look back to the empty tomb and the risen Savior. Look back to last year and see how amongst the waves, He was the solid Rock. Look back on the tears and see that He was the Comforter. Look back on the joys and see that He was the Giver. Look back on the need and see He was the provision. Look back and see how He has not failed. His faithfulness is great and His mercies new each morning.

This God, our God, is mighty. He is strong. He is steadfast. He has not failed in saving us. He will not fail in sanctifying us. He cannot fail in completing the work He began.

Heaven is coming. He will wipe away the tears. He will heal the wounds. He will give rest to the weary. Do not doubt Him even when your soul is shaking and your tears are falling. When you fear your faith will fail, lean not on your own understanding or your own strength or your own abilities, fall into the arms of Christ.

He will hold you fast. He has held you fast. He is enough.

He is enough

He didn’t promise us ease or luxury. He promised that whatever came, He was with us. He promised that He would be enough when all else seem to fade or fall or fail. Do not look to this passing world, this fleeting life for happiness or purpose. Do not look to your skills or failures for identity. Do not look to fair weather and ease for security. Look to Christ who died in your place and set you free. Look to the One who knows you and made you and loves you with an unconditional love. For He alone is enough. He always has been. He always will be.

Hard years are just that, hard. But as I look back, I see they are also good. For what better thing is there in life than being forced to rest in the mercies and love of the God who has not, will not, and cannot fail?

I see nothing better.

Hard year? Yes. Good year? Most assuredly. Here’s to a new year and a lifegiving hope in the God who holds us fast.


When I fear my faith will fail
Christ will hold me fast
When the tempter would prevail
He will hold me fast
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path
For my love is often cold
He must hold me fast
Those He saves are His delight
Christ will hold me fast
Precious in His holy sight
He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast
For my life He bled and died
Christ will hold me fast
Justice has been satisfied
He will hold me fast
Raised with Him to endless life
He will hold me fast
Till our faith is turned to sight
When he comes at last
He will hold me fast
He will hold me fast
For my Savior loves me so
He will hold me fast*

*”He Will Hold Me Fast” — Original Words vv 1-2 by Ada Habershon New Words and Music by Matt Merker©2013 Getty Music Publishing (BMI) / Matt Merker Music (BMI) (admin by MusicServices.org

3 thoughts on “He Holds Us Fast”

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