"For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, 'Fear not, I am the one who helps you.'"
This verse from Isaiah 41:13, English Standard Version, I believe, wraps up in one line the kind of faith that many take a lifetime to learn.
I am no different from the many who have struggled to understand both that I am not alone and that I can be there for others.
"His huge outstretched arms protect you -- under them you're perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm," reads Psalm 91:4 in The Message. "He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go," reads verse 11.
I am one of the believers in angels.
I have met many, both seen and unseen.
They are those who bring light to those drowning in darkness. Often, they are human beings acting as God's hands and arms.
One of those angels, a friend of mine, was trying to help me through a particularly dark time.
His instructions were to walk on the water as Jesus had done. I stepped out, alone and brave, and took several steps walking above my dilemma.
But soon, I remembered my fear and asked for a hand to pull me up to safety. I finished my walk with an angelic friend by my side.
And so it was with Peter in the account in Matthew 14.
With his eyes fixed on The Savior, Peter was able to start his journey walking on the water toward Christ.
But then, seeing the wind, he became frightened and sinks, asking the Lord to save him.
Immediately, Jesus stretches out his hand and takes hold of him, rebuking him for his lack of faith.
For a long time, I wondered about why my journey had ended like Peter's. Why had I needed a hand to hold, and why hadn't I been able to make the journey on my own, like Jesus had done?
After much thought, I remembered the scene on the cross when Christ cried out to his father: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"
I realized that only at that brief moment had The Savior not been allowed to hold God's hand.
He, too, had held on -- to The Father's hand -- as he walked on the water.
Only then did I realize what the Bible teaches about never really being alone. We always have a hand to hold.
But sometimes, those angelic hands are human.
In my job as a newspaper reporter, I have met many human angels.
This week, I met Dr. David Parker, associate director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Center for Community Caring Institute at the University of Utah.
He was in town to meet with area school officials in an effort to help schools become more caring places.
Parker stopped by the newspaper offices to congratulate our staff on an effort to be God's hands for the young and homeless. The Young and Homeless Initiative by the Standard-Examiner is raising funds, resources and awareness for a cause.
Officials believe up to 5,000 youth are homeless and unable to get social services in Utah because they are breaking the law by being away from their parents. The law looks at the youth as criminals, even though often they are on the streets because of poor choices by their parents.
But prosecuting those parents is difficult, officials say, because the children do not want to see their parents in trouble.
The Standard-Examiner is donating $1 for every donation made online as part of the The Standard-Examiner Young and Homeless Initiative, up to $10,000. (To donate, visit https://cares.standard.net/young-homeless/.)
While visiting with Parker, I told him that in covering religion, I had discovered how similar the teachings were in all faiths, especially when it comes to the Golden Rule -- treating others the way we wish to be treated.
But, I said, people aren't always able to put that teaching into practice, because people don't know what they are doing and saying that is offensive to others since they haven't lived outside of themselves and don't always understand other people's backgrounds.
Parker said people can get around those obstacles through trust. If we can learn to trust each other enough to know each other's hearts, then we can accept mistakes, knowing they are not intentional, he said.
"I don't know what I don't know until you tell me I don't know it," he said.
I believe this means that through humility in asking a person how I need to change to serve him or her better, I am able to reach them at their level and become effective in my service.
When I understand this concept, I can reach out to someone who will trust me enough to put their hand in mine.
Then I can be an angel, too.
I believe religion and spirituality is about the practice of the faith, not so much the worship.
Perhaps my favorite angel I ever reported about was Jack Price, who is now about 55.
I didn't ask the Washington Terrace man permission to remind readers about him. My guess is he would have told me not to put him in this column.
I appreciate Price because he is he man who found 4-year-old Corbin Anderson's body in the Weber River on Mother's Day in 2012 after Corbin had drowned two weeks earlier.
It seemed that all possible efforts had been extinguished in finding the Layton boy's remains. Hundreds of man hours had gone into the effort.
But Price, having lost his own mother, felt driven to hold that grieving mother's hand that Sunday morning and he searched until he was inspired to look beside just the right log.
I love that story, found at http://www.standard.net/stories/2012/05/13/man-prayer-led-me-boys-body, because it happened on a Sunday morning.
That day, a lot of us were in church singing about service.
Price was out putting his faith to work.
It is my prayer that all of us can learn to do the same.