I recently did a devotion for my leadership group and spent hours thinking of what I wanted to say. I first was going to speak about “contentment”, which is a great subject. Then I heard a sermon about “transformation”, which made me rethink if I was content, was I willing to be transformed? Of course either of those would have been great to write about but one day I was glancing down at a favorite magazine of mine, Bella Grace, and saw this beautiful picture of hands that went along an article written in there and it hit me. “Hands”.
So, this is what I shared with my friends.
A story is told that during the bombing of a city in World War II, a large statue of Jesus was severely damaged. When the townspeople found the statue among the rubble, they mourned because it had been a beloved symbol of their faith and of God’s presence in their lives.
Experts were able to repair most of the statue, but its hands had been damaged so severely that they could not be restored. a famous sculptor offered to make new hands; but, after considering the matter, the members decided to let it stand as it was-without hands. “For,” they said, “Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work on earth. If we don’t feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, entertain the stranger, visit the imprisoned, and clothe the naked, who will?” -It stood, without hands, a permanent reminder of the tragedy of war.
However, the people of the city added on the base of the statue of Jesus Christ a sign with these words: “You are my hands.”
There is something about physical touch that brings comfort and stability in an uncertain world. We often picture Jesus with hands outstretched, reaching out to comfort, heal, bless, and love. In the New Testament, He practiced the ministry of touch, sometimes touching the “untouchables” and letting them touch him.
Mark 5:25-34 talks about the bleeding woman who touched Jesus` garment. He told her that her faith saved her. He gave her his love and sent her away, healed and whole.
Mark 5:35-43 Jairus was one of the rulers of the Jewish synagogue and had a 12-year-old daughter who had been very ill and was now at the point of death. Jesus went to Jairus`s sick daughter, took her by the hand and said to her, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” She immediately arose and walked around.
Matthew 8:14-15, Mark 1:30-31, Luke 4:38-39 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He healed the woman of fever by touching her hand. She rose and began to “serve” him.
Luke 13:10-17 Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath and saw a woman who had been “crippled by a spirit for eighteen years”. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. He called to the woman, said “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity”, then laid his hands on her body, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
As we emulate His perfect example, our hands can become His hands; our eyes, His eyes; our heart, His heart.
Deuteronomy 15:11 “Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors.”
Captain Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. shares his story of winning through adversity with audiences around the world. He graduated from the Naval Academy of Annapolis and went on to fly the F-4 Phantom jet on 74 successful combat missions over North Vietnam. On his 75th mission, with only five days before he was to return home, Captain Plumb was shot down, captured, tortured, and imprisoned in an 8-foot x 8-foot cell. He spent 2,103 days, almost 6 years, as a
Prisoner of War in communist prison camps. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience as well as how to win through adversity.
Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant one night when a man at another table came up to him. He said, “You’re Plumb, aren`t you? You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk and you were shot down!” “How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb. Because “I packed your parachute,” the man replied.
Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything, because, you see, I was a fighter pilot, and he was just a sailor.”
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Who’s Packing Your Parachute? Who`s parachute are your hands packing?
Plumb also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory. He needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety. Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day.
As I was preparing this devotion, I glance down at my own hands and think about the life they have lived.
As a little girl, they would reach into the hands of my big, strong daddy, sitting on the second row, piano side, in church each week. And I felt His love.
They would hold my mother’s hands for many years so not to get lost while we were out and I felt His love.
In the spring of 1974, on the front seat of our family car, they rested in my daddy`s hand once again, as he drove me to church to give me away in marriage,
later that same day, they joined hands with my new husband., and I felt His love.
In 1980, 3 months pregnant, in the hospital with gall stones, too many iv tries to find a vein, they held tightly to my husbands hand as the nurses searched once more, and I felt His love
With each new baby and later grandbabies, as my hand held theirs, I felt His Love.
They have worked endless hours with my singer sewing machine.
They have ironed and washed 100`s of loads of laundry
They have cooked and washed many pots and pans,
They have created endless canvas paintings
They gently held my mother’s hand at the end of her life when words were long gone from her lips.
My hands, once soft and smooth, now gently worn with wrinkles from living life, are still able.
Our hands are Signatures of God, the great artist. They are created for more. They are part of God`s masterpiece. There is no other work in life that will fill you with more joy and purpose than seeing God`s promises fulfilled through your own hands.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God`s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,
which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Sampson had a donkey jawbone to slay a thousand men. Ruth had grain gleaned from the field. David had his sling and stones to defeat the mighty Philistine champion. The unnamed boy had his five loaves and two fishes. The woman had an alabaster jar filled with oil to anoint Jesus.
We all have something in our hands. As we release it, He releases what is in His! The “common” becomes “mighty “when God anoints it. He is ready and willing.
Acts 4:30 says “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.
Who is packing your parachute?
“What is in your hands?
And what are you going to do with it?”