Hand Over Hand

nes

I introduced my daughter to the joys of the original Super Mario Bros. a couple of weeks ago. Of course, to do it right, this isn’t run in emulation, downloaded to the Wii U virtual console, or any other non-authentic experience. She’s seeing the game in full 8-bit glory running off of the NES I got from my parents some 25 or so years ago. She’s had the privilege of blowing off the cartridge, and she even got to use an original NES controller.

At first, I just handed her the controller and let her have at it. Unsurprisingly, she figured out how to move and jump all by herself. Where she had more problems was in coordinating those two elements. She probably spent a solid five minutes repeatedly running headlong into the first goomba until she successfully jumped over it. Then she successfully jumped over a few other obstacles, but the second pit proved to be too great a challenge.

Eventually, my daughter asked for help, and we began playing the game hand over hand. At first, I held the controller with her thumbs on top of mine.  After a few minutes, we switched positions, and something really interesting happened. At first, her thumbs were very tense, and she would press buttons without guidance. After a few repetitions, however, she relaxed, fully trusting that I could help her through the obstacles that lay ahead if she would just give up control and let me.

Trust in His Hands

This is the type of complete trust we should have in our own Heavenly Father. Psalm 56:3 simply says:

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

I Peter 5:6 – 7 speaks of trust this way:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Finally, here’s how Jesus addresses this kind of trust in Matthew 6:25 – 34:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

God is there holding His hands over ours, but we so want to take control from him. My little girl learned, through trial and error, that I would guide her through the parts of Super Mario Bros. that were giving her troubles, but she had to relax and let me have that control. Sometimes all we have to do to give God control is relax.

Releasing Anxiety

So many things tempt us to tense up and grow anxious. People on the news tell us of terrible events from around the world, and they do so in a way that encourages stress and discouragement. Editorialists and pundits tell us what we should be stressing out over and what we should be feeling angry or fearful about. There are the daily stresses that seem to pile up so much. These influences and others tempt us to misalign our priorities and try to seize control from God.

Jesus and His apostles tell us to do the opposite. This is a way we should be separate from the world. Instead of letting these things tense us up, we should be simply giving control over to God and letting Him guide us. Let’s humble ourselves under His hands and trust Him to guide us before all of the obstacles this world places before us.

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