Whose Hands?

Precious Lord Take My Hand provides an example of how a song helped the one who created it, before it helped countless others.

Have you ever seen a card shark at work? I have--at least on film--and it made me glad I have no interest in gambling! After years of practice, he can manipulate the deck so skillfully it is virtually impossible for the eye to detect it. He can deal himself any card he wishes, and yet it all looks open and above board. To put yourself in the hands of such an accomplished trickster is to guarantee you will part with your money.

But there are other hands to consider. What about the hands of a skilled surgeon? Healing, helping hands. Or, the hands of a loving parent? It makes a great difference whose hands you are in.

Sometimes, on a busy street, you will see a small child walking along beside Mom, with his hand in hers. No fear, no uncertainty, not even in the noisy traffic or bustling crowds of people. He trusts the strength and wisdom of the one who holds his hand. But see that same child in the middle of a department store aisle, wailing tearfully, "Mommie!" She may be nearby, but he can't see her. He has lost hold of that reassuring hand and is terrified.

Some time ago Thomas Andrew Dorsey (not the famous band leader) had an experience that relates. A black entertainer, known professionally as Georgia Tom (1899-1965), he had been a blues singer for years, and even written popular songs. Then, during a period of serious illness, he gave his heart and life to Christ. From that day he went on to write about four hundred gospel songs, actively serving the Lord for nearly half a century. One of his compositions in particular has remained popular ever since. The writing of it came about as follows.

In 1932, Mr. Dorsey was invited to sing at a series of revival meetings in St. Louis. He did not want to accept, as his wife was expecting their first child at any time. But she urged him to go. Then, during the first night of the meetings, a telegram was brought to him. It conveyed the sad news that his wife had died giving birth to a son. Grief-stricken, Dorsey drove back home.

Within a few hours, his baby son died as well. He buried them both in the same casket. In despondency, he went to visit a friend. As they talked the musician was encouraged with the thought that whatever happened, he was in the hands of a loving God.

After awhile, he sat down at the piano and began to improvise the prayer-song, "Precious Lord Take My Hand." It begins, "Precious Lord, take my hand, / Lead me on, help me stand, / I am tired, I am weak, I am worn; / Through the storm, through the night, / Lead me on to the light, / Take my hand, precious Lord, / Lead me home."

Thomas Dorsey had been reassured by the promises of God, as each believer can be. Like a trusting child we each can look up with the eyes of faith and clasp the hand of our heavenly Father. He says: "I the Lord your God will hold your right hand, saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you" (Isa. 41:13).

There is tender compassion in the outstretched hand of the Lord. That was personally revealed through the life of Christ on earth. By His loving hand He healed the blind (Mk. 8:23), lifted the lame (Mk. 9:27), cleansed the leper (Matt. 8:3), and raised the dead (Matt. 9:25).

Then the hands of Jesus were nailed to a cruel cross, where He died to take the punishment for your sins and mine (Isa. 53:5). Through His death, God has provided eternal salvation for all who will put their faith in Him. So whose hands are you in? Will you trust in Him and pray, today, "Precious Lord take my hand...lead me home"?