OUTSTRETCHED HAND

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.

// Proverbs 3:5-6 [MSG]

Every summer, my mother and I would travel to Brazil to visit family. These few weeks were the highlight of my childhood.

As we got off the plane, there was always something extraordinary about arriving in Brazil. The sounds of the nation were everywhere. The samba on the streets, the vendors at the markets, my grandmother's house... My little ears were in love! At times, it felt as if I had never left the country in which I was born. But, there were always a few instances in which I felt like a fish out of water.

I was born in Brazil, but raised in the United States. As I got older, Brazil had become a foreign territory to me and I became a stranger in my own land. As we walked down the busy, people-filled streets that my mother knew so well, I had no sense of direction. Even though I spoke the language and knew the customs and the culture, I could never find my way “home”. As much as I tried to figure out where I was, I knew deep down that I couldn't. I had no choice but to trust my mom and know that she knew the right path. She knew these streets, after all. This was were she grew up. This was her home.

Whenever my mother saw that I looked lost, she'd stick out her hand and say, “Renata, me da a sua mão. Não se preocupe, você esta bem!” That is, “Renata, give me your hand. Don't worry, you're ok!” Immediately, I would look up to her with a sigh of relief and stretch out my hand. She knew the way home. She had been down these streets countless times before. She walked confidently when I wasn't able to. I was going to be ok. I was safe.

In life, we often feel like a fish out of water. We flop around and wonder where God is. While we try so hard to do things in our own strength, unsure of the right path to take, God is by our side with his hand outstretched. It's our relationship with God that allows us to trust in Him even when we don't know our next step. Jesus, God-in-the-flesh, has walked this path before. He knows what you're dealing with and knows how to lead you through it. Stop trying so hard on your own. Stretch out your hand and trust that your creator knows the way.

// Renata Eastlick