verb: take and keep a firm hold of; grasp tightly
Ever hear of nursemaid’s elbow? Me neither, until my son, a 4-year-old at the time, jumped off the curb in a busy parking lot. Because I was holding his hand and pulled against him as he jumped, he ended up with nursemaid’s elbow (well in this case I guess it should have been Overprotective Mom elbow). Basically, it’s an injury that occurs when a small child is holding an adult’s hand and the two pull against one another, resulting in dislocated elbow. It sounds rather painful, but a quick trip to the doctor had my son’s elbow right back where it should have been.
Recently, this little “memory” came back to me after reading 1 Peter 5:9: “So keep a firm grip on the faith.” I thought about how when my kids were little, I held their hands firmly whenever we were in any sort of potential danger. Sometimes, I gripped their little hands fiercely because I knew days would soon arrive when they didn’t want to hold my hand anymore. My grip equalled my protection.
Why do we not keep the same grip on our faith as we do our little ones? The verses surrounding verse 9 help us to see this firm grip thing a little better.
Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. (1 Peter 5:8-11 from The Message bible)
As parents we do exactly as Peter says, we keep our guard up. We foresee dangers and protect our kids from them. But when it comes to our own faith, often we aren’t prepared. Our grip is loosened easily at the first sign of trouble, trial, or tragedy. Before, we know it our grip is completely relaxed and Satan rips our faith from us. Notice that the last verses go on to tell us that we won’t have to keep our grip long because “the suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ…will have you put together and on your feet for good.”
His plans for us are great, but we spend a lot of time questioning him about it. We loosen our grip on his perfect purpose for us, and soon we’ve let go completely and start doing things our own way. Why? How can we avoid this letting go? How do we keep a grip on our faith when life gets tough? What routines, what habits help us keep a “cool head” and “stay alert?”
Just like the verse says, there are people all over the world–especially in mine right now–that are struggling to hold on. I want to encourage them. (Shoot, I need to remind myself to keep a firm grip on some days.) Our faith needs a good case of nursemaid’s elbow because we refuse to let go of the promises of God. We all need to “get a grip!”
What are you doing to make that happen? Take a moment to share so we may be encourage each other.