Holding Fast


Guest post by Elizabeth Smith Hamilton

I’m one of those people who had the privilege to change regional and church cultures when she got married. I remember at my reception, hugging a seemingly endless line of crying loved ones who all knew that as I left for my honeymoon, I would never be back as the same. And I wasn’t. I was moving 600-700 miles away to a different culture, people, denomination, and life.


Now, I’m privileged to straddle a few different church cultures. For 23 years I’ve discovered similarities and differences. One of the differences has been a song that my home church, the Wesleyan Holiness Alliance (with Fire Baptized roots here in Kansas), loves, “Hold the fort, for I am coming!” My people here sing with a gospel swing, clapping hands and raising arms to God. We have sung this song until it seemed the walls of the church reverberated, and a militant spirit roared! I remember repeating, “Wave the answer back to heaven...By. Thy. Grace. We. Will!” We were waving our hands in the air and standing! We were on the move!

Then I went back to my other world—to IHC, revivals, and camps out East and heard this song given in more than one sermon illustration as a song of defeat! This song symbolized a few pitiful wagons circling emaciated, defeated settlers—trying to hold it together during an inevitable attack! It was bedraggled and slow…. “Hold the fort.”

I can’t blame these eastern preachers. I love every single one of them, but I realize that they’ve never heard this song sung the WHA way. :) This has put my mind to the meaning of the word “hold.”

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised.” Hebrews 10:33

“But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.” Revelations 2:25

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Revelations 3:11

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15

“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:” 1 Timothy 1:19

“Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” 1 Timothy 3:9

“Hold fast that which is good.” I Thessalonians 5:21

“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” Hebrews 3:14

I can never forget the day that I “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before” me! It was real! I grabbed a hold of these promises and clutched them to my chest with my arms wrapped around them.

There are things that I held that I didn’t want. I’ve held pain, defeat, hopelessness, and unforgiveness. Once as I was rehashing a problem in my mind, God literally told me, “Drop it!” How wonderful to drop the things that bind you and lay hold of the things of God!

There are things that I held that I didn’t want. I’ve held pain, defeat, hopelessness, and unforgiveness.

It seems like every week, someone is dropping things that God meant to be held. Last night I laid in the dark crying to my husband, “I feel like I’m playing the game ‘Red Light, Green Light.’ I turned my back, and when I turned back around, everyone had changed their positions.” Some of it is subtle, some outright, but it is all directional! I have cried and then wailed until I thought I must be part Jewish (except I’ve never tried rending my garments). Before my eyes, the definition of modesty and a thousand other topics have shifted. I understand why the songwriter wrote, “See the mighty host advancing, Satan leading on; Mighty men around us falling, Courage almost gone!”

But today I went over to the church, and Jesus met me! He and I talked, and I told Him I would hold the profession of my faith without wavering! I would hold for victories, hold for revival, hold for godliness, hold for that which is good...if He would help me! Only by His grace! Today, I “waved the answer back to heaven, ‘By Thy grace I will.’” By the way, I literally waved the answer with my arms raised...the WHA way. :)

Just find me faithful when you come
Standing true ‘til all is done
Like a beacon in the night
Shining out a way that’s right
Find me faithful in Your sight
Jesus, you have changed my life
Keep me walking in the light
Find me faithful [1]

- Elizabeth (Smith) Hamilton

[1] “Find Me Faithful” as sung by The Freemans (1992) on their album Once Was Enough. https://the-freemans.com/music-downloads

Merilee BarnardComment