I’d been numb all day. Since six o’clock that morning I’d had to hold in my emotions. The parents had searched my face, wondering if I would be that stronghold their children needed while they went to work. My fourth graders were quiet and well behaved, holding themselves together exceptionally well. I kept the conversations focused on the lessons and not what was swirling around us in the world. My face kept up the façade of confidence that all would be fine.
But now school was over. The last children were safely buckled into their parents’ cars and heading home. And so was I. Putting one heavy foot in front of the other, I unlocked my car, pulled the door closed and collapsed in heaving sobs on the steering wheel. I couldn’t hold the horror in any longer… the sight on my TV that morning of a second plane crashing into that New York City skyscraper. I didn’t need to hold it together anymore. And I looked to my Savior Jesus to hold me together, and just hold me… that day and in the long days ahead.
When a leader is faced with a situation that affects a class, company, church, family, others look for signs of confidence and stability that will hold everything together. There is nothing more discouraging or even alarming than to watch someone who is in charge become immobilized with indecision or fear or even have a complete melt down.
When our children were young, my husband and I tried our best to avoid discussing any concerns we might have in front of them, especially regarding our financial ups and downs. If there was something unsettling on the news front, we kept our voices and faces calm and reassuring, later sharing our worries with each other in private.
In various schools I’ve been privileged to teach in, nothing was more unsettling than to have a principal verbally wringing his or her hands when faced with changes and problems that needed a firm decision. And there was nothing more calming than to have a principal explain the difficulty with his plan of action attached. Everyone breathed easier knowing that problems would be solved, and it wasn’t our job to take on that worry.
But what happens when we’re the leader, the parent, the boss who isn’t so confident in the outcome? Instead of a sure grip on the reins of leadership, there is wavering and struggling, not knowing if that bright sun will come up the next day or any day for that matter.
It isn’t as easy as someone telling us, “Get ahold of yourself!” And it doesn’t help when others keep asking, “How are you holding up?”, especially when so many things are out of our control.
That’s when we’re in a real bind… a predicament, a dilemma, a quandary, some serious trouble. We can turn to others for help, and certainly that is a welcome relief, especially when they have a good solution or plan of action. I know I’ve looked to the wisdom of my husband in many situations over the years to bring sense out of the chaos someone has thrown at me. And oftentimes he’s looked to me for the calm assurance that indeed everything was going to work out.
But if we only look to each other, we’ve left out the one true source of the cement, the glue that will hold us together. It’s our Lord Jesus, of course.
The Apostle Paul assures us in his letter to the Colossians that “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (1:17). I like the Living Bible’s phrasing: “He was before all else began, and it is His power that holds everything together.” Not only does Paul remind us that Jesus has seen it all before, but he assures us that He has the power to hold everything, including us, together.
When we don’t have our act together all the time, it’s okay. Certainly we need to keep our composure, but that’s usually an act that will eventually fall apart if we aren’t depending on our Lord Jesus. Only He can give us that ultimate assurance that it will be fine, even more than fine when His power is involved.
And when we look to others who are also held together by Jesus, we truly have that cement that binds our hearts as one in Him. As we sing out “Bind us together, Lord” we also lift our voices in praise, “Blest be the tie that binds!” Because Jesus is the tie that binds us together with our Christian brothers and sisters, as we look to Him to hold us, our lives, and our world together.
Leaving my guilt at the cross,
(First published at Lead Like Jesus, December 2017)