Hold To God's Unchanging Hand
We know that if the earthly tent, which is our house, is torn down, we have
a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling
from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.
For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we
do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be
swallowed up by life. Now, He who prepared us for this very purpose is
God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good
courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent
from the Lord - for we walk by faith, not by sight - we are of good courage,
I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with
the Lord. - 2 Corinthians 5:1-8
Her father died in her infancy. When she was four years old, she was left
paralyzed following a spinal infection that rendered her an invalid. She
lived her life in a wheelchair. And suffered the uncertain ravages of the
Civil War. But Jennie Bain Wilson lived a productive and joyful life as she
grew up in rural Indiana. In 1881, at age 25 she was carried into a creek in
her wheelchair and baptized into Christ. She wrote, “It gave me much joy to
thus confess my dear Savior.” Jennie’s life was then dedicated to her love of
music and poetry. She penned over 2200 poems. One of the most famous
was set to music and is found in many hymnals: “Hold To God’s
Unchanging Hand.” The first verses offers this insight and exhortation:
Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand,
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand
In the text above, Paul is essentially admonishing us in a similar vein. He
speaks as one who has suffered hardship, endured trials, and experienced
adversity, yet he provides a hopeful assurance of the Christian’s future.
Note these declarative affirmations.
We know: There’s a lot we don’t know. But through God’s Word we know
everything we need to know to live an abundant life. We can know God.
Know Jesus. Know the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Know that His
promises are steadfast and sure. Like Paul, we know.
We have: Paul was a tentmaker. So, he compared this body to a tent.
Something temporary. Weak. And lacking beauty. But, there’s something
we have. “A building from God.” A heavenly house. A glorified body. One
that is permanent. Glorious. And immortal. Interestingly, he spoke of it like
he was already in possession of it. And in his mind, he was.
We groan: No doubt the debilitating condition Jennie Wilson suffered led
to a great deal of groaning. There’s no question, Paul suffered physically,
mentally and emotionally. He was beaten. Stoned. Imprisoned. Imperiled.
Misrepresented. Misunderstood. And weary from his work for the Lord.
The problems, perplexities and predicaments of our earthly existence
produce either an audible groan or an inner sigh. And we all know the
feeling when we suffer pain, experience loss, feel heartache and walk in the
shadow of death.
We walk: Yet, through it all, Paul said, “we walk by faith and not by sight.”
As Paul wrote earlier our focus is not on what we see, but what we don’t see
with the naked eye. What we literally see is temporal and transitory. But
what we see through the eye of faith is spiritual and eternal (2 Cor 4:16-18).
Thus, we walk in the light of God’s Word… We walk in the footsteps of
Jesus. We walk in love. We walk according to our Christian calling. We
walk in wisdom. And we walk not as pagan people in the lusts of their flesh.
We walk according to His commandments. We walk in the Spirit.
We’re confident: The result of this approach to life is confidence.
Assurance. Trust. And courage. Twice in the text Paul expresses the
confidence of his eternal future. We too, can take heart in this hope, and
not lose heart regardless of life’s troubles, trials and temptations to quit.
So, we share and sing with Jennie Wilson the sentiments of her song:
Trust in Him who will not leave you.
Whatsoever years may bring.
If by earthly friends forsaken,
Still more closely to Him cling.
Hold to His hand, to God’s unchanging hand.
Hold to His hand, to God’s unchanging hand.
Build your hopes on things eternal.
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.
- Ken Weliever
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