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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Quiet Time: Don't Hide Your Hands; Open Them

Don't Hide Your Hands; Open Them

Read: Mark 3:1-8

He *said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” – Mark 3:3

Hands are more than body parts that help us grab hold of stuff. Hands are extensions of our personality, they help us communicate, and they can convey joy and openness, as well as, anger and hatred.

Anna was a Latin girl from my high school. Latinos love to talk with their hands. She was pretty, self confident, and friendly. Not normal. Most girls with her obvious datable qualities were somewhat aloof and stuck on themselves. But, there was something different about Anna. You see, Anna had a malformed arm that grew only six inches in length with a hand at the apex that consisted of a thumb, forefinger, and pinky. I noticed how she always made sure it was hidden, but I also noticed she didn’t let her difference define her. Honestly, I think she kept her arm covered for our benefit more than her own, because she knew how shallow kids could be.

Then, just this morning at the restaurant, as if to drive the story home, my prayer buddy, Kevin showed up with a severe allergic reaction manifesting itself on his hands. Right away he informed me, “I’d shake your hand, but I got something on my fingers after cleaning out my gutters at home.” I looked closely and saw that his hands looked as if boiling water had severely scalded them. I also noticed how Kevin made sure to keep his hands out of sight while we sat at the breakfast table. Again, more for my benefit than his, I’m sure.

I thought, "What’s Jesus trying to tell me?" In Mark’s gospel, Jesus didn’t allow the man with the withered hand to hide. To the contrary, Christ called him out and brought him forward. How many times had the guy sat in the back of the synagogue; unnoticed, overlooked, but very aware that others knew he was there. How often had he tried to cover up, hide, or disguise his malformed extremity, not because he had a problem with it, but because he knew that others just couldn’t handle his imperfection; his "curse" from God, as the religious nut jobs would have called it. But this man was neither cursed nor a mistake, he was simply different, and he was about to become a living breathing example of God's grace.

Then I thought, “Where were his friends?” Why didn’t someone step forward and say, “Hey, Jesus, before you start teaching, could you help my buddy?” Jesus even gave everybody at the church a second chance to show a little compassion by asking, “Is is lawful to do harm or good on the Sabbath?” but , no-one said a word. NO-ONE-SAID-A-WORD. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

However, that’s when it hit me. Would I have spoken up? Would I have raised my hand on behalf of the guy who couldn’t and asked Jesus to move on his behalf? Would I have stretched my hands toward heaven in praise for God’s intervention after the healing? Or, God forbid, would I have lifted a fist in protest?

You see, hands really do more, than just grab stuff. Hands reveal what’s in our heart.

I want to live life with open hands.

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