When I fear my faith will fail, Christ will hold me fast;
When the tempter would prevail, He will hold me fast.
I could never keep my hold through life’s fearful path;
For my love is often cold; He must hold me fast.
He will hold me fast, He will hold me fast;
For my Savior loves me so, He will hold me fast.
– Verse 1 and Chorus of He Will Hold Me Fast by Ada R. Habershon, Robert Harkness, and Matthew Merker.
If we’re honest, our lives are like a checkerboard of seasons – some filled with joys, others with sorrows. Some with days filled with life, others filled with days of affliction and pain. There are moments where we stand immovable on the rock solid foundation of our assurance in Jesus, knowing that we have been accepted before God and loved by Him. And then there are moments clouded with doubt, where we find ourselves insecure and flailing in the winds of uncertainty. Sometimes there is faith, other times there is fear. And Because these seasons fluctuate so often, it becomes easy for us to attempt to tighten our grip on the rope of our own faithfulness, and try to pull ourselves up out of our own fears and failures by our works, and secure ourselves by our own efforts. It’s in these times especially, that in our heart of hearts, we want to believe deep down that “If I can just hang on enough…”, “If I can try hard enough…”
But this verse reminds us of the reality that we face so often. Because our lives are this way – fleeting, failing, fearful, insecure, and uncertain, we are completely insufficient to sustain our grip on the Savior’s hand. If salvation was ours to lose, we would most certainly lose it. Because our love is often cold, and because in this world we are weak and tempted often, there must be something else working on our behalf in order for us to remain steadfast. There must be someone whose grip is far more secure, and much more firm than ours if we are to be called God’s people. Jesus must hold us fast. Jesus will hold us fast. It’s not because of our strength, but because of the strength of our Savior that we are held tightly when the tempter seeks to destroy us. It’s not because of our love for Him that secures us in the firmness of His grasp, but because of His love for us. It’s not because of our own power that we are delivered from the snares of doubt, or the paralyzing sting of suffering, but only because of the power of God.
John’s gospel gives some of the strongest words of Jesus as He describes His love and protection for His people. He essentially says that we are held fast in the hands of our Shepherd by the very power of God that is greater than anything. With everlasting confidence in who He is as God, Jesus dares any doubt, any fear, any suffering, any sin, or any tempter in the universe to attempt to separate us from His grasp. Because our Saviour is greater than all, all attempts from those lesser than Him will fail. Christ will hold us fast.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.