“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)
Princess makes an effective alarm clock, but not a very pleasant one. We have a mat in our garage decorated with a dachshund and the phrase, “Caution: Dog Cannot Hold Its Licker.” This is especially true when I’m trying to sleep.
If Betty gets up before I do, she will sometimes allow Princess to jump onto the bed while I am still sleeping. Normally she comes straight to my face to show her affection with a wet mess of dog kisses. It’s about as shocking as a pitcher of cold water poured on your head!
One morning I felt her jump up on the bed, so I braced for the barrage. It never came. Instead, she thrust her nose under my hand, wanting me to pet her. In a flash, I was impressed by God that this is how we should approach Him every morning.
Imagine how our lives would change if our first thought or action was not, “Oh no, another day,” or “Am I late for work?” For those who have experienced loss, that waking moment may hold, “I wonder where he or she is,” or “I miss my loved one.” I have been told that smokers often think, “I need a cigarette,” immediately upon waking.
What if our first action of every day was more like Princess’ that morning? I felt the Lord was impressing me, through this simple canine act, that the first thing I should do every day is to get my head under His hand, so that He can guide my thoughts and order my steps.
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)
When God’s hand rests upon our lives, wisdom will enlighten our minds and integrity will direct our feet. Jesus said that He is light, and His light guides our paths. When the light moves, we move. Where He goes, we must go. We not only walk in the light, but we freely express the glory of His light through our lives. This is life under His hand.
When Princess showers me with kisses, I appreciate her enthusiasm and affection, but sometimes it’s a bit much. But when she pushed her head under my hand, I turned my attention to her, petting her head as I contemplated God’s truth. Her move was not bold or boisterous, yet I noticed her. I pulled her close.
I have no doubt that God never wearies of our enthusiasm and affection, but I also believe that he notices our submission. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you,” wrote James, the brother of Jesus. (James 4:8)
Under His hand there is warmth and intimacy. When we press in toward God, it’s like Princess nudging my hand. He responds with divine love. He presses in toward us. This is perhaps the most intimate relationship that mankind can have with Holy God while we are still alive on this earth. It is supernatural and life-changing.
Under His hand there is security and safety. If you ever see the owner of a cat or small dog encounter a large, threatening dog, you will see the same reaction: the owner will immediately pick up their pet and hold it close. When the owner holds their beloved pet, the animal is usually safe. With God, we are always safe when under His hand. The Psalmist declared, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!’" (Psalm 91:1-2)
One cannot live in the “shadow of the Almighty” without being close. It requires the kind of trust Princess has in me simple, yet profound. She trusts me completely, even when her limited mind cannot comprehend my plans. She obeys me, for the most part, and her obedience is rewarded with the good things I bring her. I look for ways to give her joy -- though I am just a man. How much greater is a close relationship with the Creator of the universe when we trust Him completely? The joy He gives surpasses anything we could ever conjure on our own.
The wisdom, peace and fulfillment of this type of relationship cannot be fully stated. It must be experienced. Perhaps you did not awaken today seeking to have His hand resting on your head, but you can start now by drawing near and He will draw near. Then tomorrow, and every day thereafter, begin your day by pressing closer to Him, submitting your will and quieting your mind. When you truly learn to live this way, you will begin to experience the transforming power of His abiding presence.
Start each day by making an effort to get “under His hand.” Start with prayer and submit your will to His.
“Father, help me to live close to You. Thank you for the provision and peace in your shadow.”