“I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer…” 1 Timothy 2:8 (NIV)
Our hands tell the stories of our lives.
If you were to examine my hands one of the most obvious things you’d see was that the ring finger on my right hand is disfigured and partially crippled from a rugby injury. On the other hand, my left hand, the ring finger is the glory of my hands. That’s the finger that’s decorated with a wedding band. It announces for all to see that I’m married and, if anyone were to ask, a happily married man.
What have your hands done? Probably a great deal! Mine have written countless words, pounded thousands of nails, pulled many weeds, made hundreds of beds, and by my reckoning at the time of writing, flushed toilets more than ninety-thousand times. I’ve shaped wood with my hands, clicked the computer mouse, cast fishing lines, washed cars, and changed some diapers along the way (Karen’s hands did many more!).
Our hands have been through a lot. I remember how gently my hands reached out to hold each of our children for the first time. Yet my hands were strong and sure when I grabbed Christie and jerked her away from the danger of a car cutting a corner. When the bone of Matt’s middle finger was driven up the palm of his hand (I think he outclassed my rugby injury with his rugby injury), I placed my hands on his head and prayed for his healing. And when I ordered Jonathan to open his mouth and swallow some Buckley’s (it tastes awful) my hand pushed the spoon into his mouth.
Our hands bear the marks of where we’ve been, and are with us wherever we go. From the day my hands first reached out into the world they’ve known what it is to be sticky, wet, broken, bloody, dry and raw. They’ve held me up, lain me down, and reached out to others in friendship and love. They were swollen when a school bully hit them with a stick over and over again, clammy when they reached out to hold Karen’s hand for the first time, frozen from shoveling snow, and limp under anesthetic. They opened the Bible my mother gave me as a memento of when I came to salvation in Christ. And they shook slightly when they pressed the switch that sent my father’s coffin into the furnace. They’ll no doubt shake again.
My hands tell the story of my life. When they fall lifeless to my side it won’t be the end. For when I die my spirit will be committed into God’s hands (cf. Psalm 31:5)