I like the imagery Karen used today to help us picture God's outstretched hand during times when we are tested. Like toddlers learning to walk, children learning to ride bikes - God trusts that we will be okay, even when we step out of the boat into different or unknown or scary circumstances, and God will be there to reach out God's hand when we need it most.
I think Karen's point about our church family is important too. Sometimes (often!) God's outstretched hand looks like those with whom we worship every week. When I am feeling doubt, or feeling alone, my church family is there to hold me up. When I am unable to sing, those around me sing louder. And when I am feeling strong and confident, I am called to be God's hand to others. To support them. To sing louder when they cannot.
We saw a beautiful example of this around the world yesterday. While the hundreds of Women's Marches weren't necessarily faith-based events, they were, for me, an example of communities standing together, supporting those who may be feeling afraid and vulnerable. Of some of us being God's outstretched hand to those of us who need it most right now.
I know that God's hand will be there when I need it, and I will do my best to be that hand to other people when they need it.
We are pilgrims on a journey, and companions on the road;
We are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load.
I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night-time of your fear;
I will hold my hand out to you, speak the peace you long to hear.
- from "Brother, sister, let me serve you" by R. Gillard