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Catie shared a detailed account of her morning as the two of us drove to town. As a three-year-old, she enjoyed attending a children’s class while Cay attended her weekly Bible study. “We learned a new song,” she said. “Sing it for me,” I replied. And so began a delightful, amusing, and profound conversation.  

Without hesitation she belted out the refrain, “Hold me, hold me, hold me. Lord God almighty.”

“Wait – that should be holy, holy, holy,” I said. 

“No Daddy, it’s hold me, hold me, hold me. Lord God almighty.” 

Over the next few miles, I learned a powerful lesson: you never win an argument with a three-year-old.  

For the better part of four decades, I have thought a great deal about the profound truth within her confused lyrics. Tears still well up whenever that majestic hymn is sung in my presence. And I often sing the alternate words not only to remember Catie, but also because they are true. 

Yes, our God is a God who is holy, holy, holy. The angels Isaiah saw swirling throughout the throne room of heaven continually proclaim God’s holiness.  

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isaiah 6:1-3) 

But our God is also a God who was willing to come to earth, reach out, and hold me, hold me, hold me. Jesus, the visible manifestation of the invisible God, is the one of whom Mark writes, “And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.” (Mark 10:16) 

Paul reminds us, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form." (Colossians 2:9) 

Catie saw what I often miss. The God who is holy, holy, holy and who sits enthroned with all power and glory is the same God who loves me and wants to hold me, hold me, hold me.  

We err when we revere God as holy, holy, holy and forget that He wants to hold me, hold me, hold me. And we err when we relate to God enjoying His desire to hold me, hold me, hold me and disregard the truth that He is holy, holy, holy.  

Aligning God’s holiness with His love is challenging. Maybe we overthink it. Maybe it is clear, only in the eyes of a three-year-old.  

We sang Holy, Holy, Holy at Catie’s funeral. Someday, I plan to have it sung at mine.  

Dan Bolin


Refueling in Flight Ministries, Inc


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