Lead Me Dear Lord…

In young childhood there was nothing quite so comforting and reassuring as my small hand wrapped safely in the hand of my mother or father as I was guided through crowded and otherwise insecure circumstances. The only thing better I think was to be wrapped in their warm arms and carried through adversity and trial when my little legs could not keep up. That is what loving parents do for tender offspring needing help in times of vulnerability and development throughout our earthly lives. It is a reflection of the loving, guided and patient relationship we have with Father in Heaven.

I am reminded of a beloved poem entitled “Measuring” (The Ensign, June 1983) that I first read when I was a young missionary in 1984. Poet Johnnie Ratliff Gilliland for me truly captured the feeling of my little hand in the safe guiding hand of another. I have reflected on his words many times in sober humility holding the hands of my twelve little ones, serving the guiding role, once and yet still provided for me.

By Johnnie Ratliff Gilliland

You pressed your little hand
Against mine.
“I want to see,” you said,
“How much I have to grow
Before I’m like you.”
Your eyes smiled into mine
And for an instant
I glimpsed the plan

Kneeling at bedside,
(Engulfed by a spiritual tide)
I think of
His hands—
Hands that healed
The lame and raised
The dead,
Hands that calmed
The furious sea—
His hands,
Pierced and bleeding
For me.

Ah, little one,
You look to me
As you measure
And sew.
And I know that’s
The way it should be.
But kneeling here
In daylight dim,
I realize how much
I must grow
To be like

Even in adulthood parents continue to mother and father their children. It is part of the natural and eternal order established by Heavenly Parents, a divine process that began long before we were born and will continue always. True wisdom comes by the Spirit from God, but it is meant to come in measure through experience as we are guided by the Lord’s tender and patient hand. He teaches us incrementally, not expecting that we will know all at once, and reminding that neither should we expect such of ourselves, just to be joyous and thankful through the process of learning.

The Lord taught, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you; And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours. And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more” (Doctrine and Covenants 78:17-19).

We are His children, children of a loving God, a loving Heavenly Father, who will guide us through whatever trial or education we must endure. His Son has borne the marks of our sin in the palms of His hands, those loving and scarred hands worn with our burdens, but tender to lead us along, even unto salvation. His arms once stretched out in torturous agony, are extended still, outreached to hold us close and carry us when our feeble knees fail us and we are unable to keep up.

May this humble prayer swell always in my heart and pass heavenward from my lips, “Lead me dear Lord and purify my unworthy hands that they too may be worn and outreached in service, guiding little ones unto Thee. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”

Daniel Malcolm is an entrepreneur, journalist, photographer, husband to Monica and father of twelve. He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His Atonement.