H. Stephen Shoemaker shares this story: Andy Catlett, a character in a Wendell Berry novel, has lost his right hand in a farm accident. This terrible loss has disoriented him. His right hand had been a way he connected to the world, held on to the world, and now it was gone.
“When he lost his hand he lost his hold.”
He felt like a man falling down a steep cliff unable to catch hold of anything. And he heard these words:
He is held, though he does not hold....
Though he does not hold, he is
held. He is grieving, and he is
full of joy.
Shoemaker adds: “And with this scrap of faith we little-faith people go on, in good times and bad, trusting the One sometimes near, sometimes far, who says, ‘Lo, I am with you always,’ through storm and through calm, trusting the One who reaches out his hand and hauls us out of the deep.”
(H. Stephen Shoemaker, “Walking on Water,” Myers Park Baptist Church, Charlotte, May 4, 2008; Wendell Berry, “Remembering,” Three Short Novels, 2008)