(By Janelle Swan Labelle)
A few weeks ago I was out walking with my kids. We love to explore our little end of town, which trails along a river. I've been so thankful that our walking trail hasn't been closed, as so many others have been. It was late afternoon as we were going along, looking for frogs and beavers and birds, and the sun was warm and bright on our faces. My five-year-old grabbed my arm and pointed behind me, yelling, “Whoa Mama! Look!” I turned and saw a huge bank of dark clouds rolling towards us from the north and a bolt of lightning flashing on the right.
I called the kids and we all headed home, and suddenly a little hand was in mine and a little voice was asking me to carry him. Pascal, my three-year-old, has always been afraid of lightning, and the sight of those clouds set his little heart pounding. “Don't worry, Pascal,” his big sister comforted him, “God is bigger than the thunder.” I picked him up and we hurried, making it home just as little bits of hail started to bounce onto the sidewalk. He clung to me while I took off his boots. I put him down on the couch and he looked up at me, stricken, and cried, “I need God! Oh Mama, I need God!” And I wrapped my arms around him. “The very nice thing about needing God, my love, is that we already have Him. Or, more truthfully, He already has us.” “He has us? He has me?” he asked. “He holds us in His everlasting arms,” I assured him. “He loves us so much He died for us. And He will never let us go. Do you want to listen to a song about that?” Yes, he nodded.
And I turned on “He Will Hold Me Fast.” As the last notes faded away, Pascal sighed “I love God.” And every time I put him to bed, he asks for a replay. It's been so good for my soul too. I don't know about you, but for me, the storm swirls and threatens, and my heart trembles. COVID-19, conspiracy theories, anger, loneliness, uncertainty. These are a dark and jagged mix of fears and spectres. I look at these and hear them rumble, see them draw close and block out the sun. But the truth is, the truth always has been: He will hold me fast. God is bigger than any storm, and His promises will last. For my Saviour loves me so, He will hold me fast. The darkest day already came, and He rose triumphant. In Him, we too will rise. We will look back on our fearful storm and see that we have been held and loved, all the way home. He's got us, friends. He will hold us fast.