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He will hold me fast

Hymn Series

Posted on May 6, 2019  - By Jerlin Justus

For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.” — Isaiah 41:13

Not knowing if we can “hold out” isn’t a 21st century problem — it’s existed throughout the ages for Christians

The Christian journey is not an easy one. We begin with great enthusiasm and confidence, but most of us get spiritually stuck along the way. Sometimes, we feel that our faith will fail, and we’re not so sure if we’ll even get to the end of the journey. There are times when we’re mocked by those who don’t understand what it’s like to be a child of God… times when we’re faithful to God and still suffer, and we wonder if we will ever make it. This isn’t a 21st century problem — it’s existed throughout the ages for Christians. In the 1900s, Ada R. Ha­ber­shon and Robert Harkness had a similar experience and wrote the song, ‘He will hold me fast’.

Only by His grace

Robert often wrote to Ada and, in one of these letters, cited an encounter he had with a young man who feared that he would not be able to “hold out”. He had recently been saved but wasn’t confident if he could finish the Christian race. Inspired by this man’s experience, Ada wrote this song along with seven other songs, hoping it would give definite assurance that our Christian life would be successful. Robert set a tune to it and, today, it is being covered by several artists who find comfort and encouragement in knowing they are not alone in their Christian journey.

“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 Saviour loves me so
He will hold me fast

Ada truly knew that, for a Christian, Satan and his army of demons are a constant force to reckon with. We can never live the Christian life on our own — it is only by His grace that we get through every day. Through the valley of pain and death, when we’ve lost faith in everyone and everything, even our love for God and his people, Christ promises to still hold us close.

Everlasting, unchanging God

In 2018, I lost my dear aunt to cancer. She was a faithful servant of God, striving in the mission field, making use of every opportunity to spread the gospel. When she suffered, we wondered why, but she didn’t. Through the chemo sessions, sleepless nights, eating struggles, she knew that she wasn’t alone — Christ was holding her fast. When she went to be with the Lord, we cried, but her last word was ‘Amen’. She would now get to see the Father who’d held her hand her entire life.

So often, when we go through suffering, we forget that our God is a God who will never leave us, no matter what. No matter how unfaithful we’ve been, He is faithful enough to hold us and give us sufficient grace to get through it all. Because if God brings us to it, He will definitely get us through it. We fail to see that His love is unconditional, everlasting and never-changing.

“Those He saves are His delight
Christ will hold me fast
Precious in His holy sight
He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast”

For my life He bled and died
Christ will hold me fast
Justice has been satisfied
He will hold me fast
Raised with Him to endless life
He will hold me fast
Till our faith is turned to sight
When He comes at last

Hope in a hopeless world

The songwriter goes on to say that all of God’s children are precious in His sight. Every time a child comes to the saving knowledge of Christ and His love, heaven rejoices. Psalm 149:4 says that the Lord takes pleasure in His people. So, He doesn’t just hold His children, He holds them with great joy and that’s a safe place to be. If only we reflected this joy in our lives when we suffer, knowing that there’s nothing to fear because He is in us, for us and with us.

In a world that knows brokenness and sin, we are assured of a God who knows hope and restoration

He paid a great price to save us from what we actually deserved. His Word is full of great promises that will never fade. His faithfulness is new every morning, and it lasts till we breathe our final breath. Sometimes, the sufferings He gives us are for a greater revelation of the purpose He has set for us. And until that is revealed or until His coming tarries, He will continue to hold us fast.

In a world that knows brokenness and sin, this song continues to be a great favourite in assuring us of a God who knows hope and restoration. Whether in losing a loved one or a job, fighting a mental illness or cancer cells, He is right by our side. In a happy marriage, a successful career, a clean bill of health, He is by our side. In both good and bad times, God is in control of our lives.

Are you going through a season of difficulty or delight? Remember that the Lord is always on your side and He will hold you real fast.

(Video credits: Vocals and keys — Leah Samuel)

Jerlin Justus

About Jerlin Justus

Jerlin Justus lives with her husband and 12 fishes in Bangalore, India. She loves the ‘swirl and swing of words’ as they tangle with human emotions. She believes there is nothing worse than holding on to the untold story of the cross, and when words fail, music always speaks.



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