Those Hands!

“He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.”
Isaiah 53:3-6

“I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
    it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
    you lay me in the dust of death.” Psalm 22:14-15

“So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.” John 19:16-18

Pain in my hand pulses hot and hard. Excruciating, meaning ‘out of the cross.’ I think of the Carpenter’s hands— cutting, shaping, connecting, and smoothing wood. The Healer’s hands that lovingly touched the leper, gently raised the fevered, powerfully raised the crippled. The Teacher’s hands that blessed children, broke bread for thousands, and grilled fish for the disciples. The Servant’s hands that washed feet, served the last supper to a betrayer, wrung tight and opened submissively in Gethsemane prayer. These are the Redeemer’s hands that carried the cross, that were nailed to the cross, that were pierced for my transgressions, torn for my brokenness. They bore the weight of my Savior, who bore the weight of my sin. Of all His children’s sin, past, present and future. (Matthew 8:1-3; 14-15; Mark 6:3; 10:13-16; Luke 22:41-44; John 6:9-11; 13:1-5; 21-26; 21:9-13)

How beautiful the hands of my Lord, active in creation and presently upholding all things by His power, as well as all my concerns in constant intercession as my Advocate for God’s perfect will. I wish I could hold them, lovingly like Nicodemus, tangibly like Thomas. I cannot in real life. (John 19:38-44; 20:24-27; Romans 8:26,34 ; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2-3)

But I can be Jesus’s hands to others. His hands that never let us go give us freedom to go and be those hands, for His sake, in our world. He bids us to use them to do His work in the world and recognition to His name in places that know Him not.

What of my hands? With what Spirit-led industry are they occupied? Where am I building with energy, planting with vision, improving with care, maintaining with skillful stewardship? How am I using them to create beauty for God’s glory, to serve with generosity, to write to encourage with His messages of hope? With what gentleness and grace do they soothe the anxious, calm the fearful, caress the unsettled, love the lonely, and comfort the grieving?

“Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of thy love.”
~Frances Ridley Havergal (1874)

I open my hands to You, my Lord, to relinquish my pride and self sufficiency, to offer in love and service to others, held high in glad surrender and grateful praise.

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