Author Henri Nouwen writes about Jean Vanier, who liked to tell a story illustrating our need for intimacy with God. Nouwen comments, “When Jean Vanier speaks about that intimate place, he often stretches out his arm and cups his hand as if it holds a small, wounded bird. He asks, ‘What will happen if I open my hand fully?’ We say, ‘The bird will try to flutter its wings, and it will fall and die.’

“Then he asks, ‘But what if I close my hand?’ We say, ‘The bird will be crushed and die.’ Then he smiles and says, ‘An intimate place is like my cupped hand, neither totally open nor totally closed. It is the space where growth can take place.'”

Certainly God’s powerful hand is to be feared and respected. But for the faithful believer, God’s hand is also a place of rest and refuge. When we realize that we are safe in His hand, we can enjoy the secure and untroubled calm He intends for us.

In the hollow of God’s hand we are in the place of intimacy and growth and security. God will neither crush us nor let us fall abandoned. No one—not the devil nor our enemies—can take us out of His hand (Jn. 10:29). In the intimacy of His presence, we need not be afraid.