Regardless of what they look like, hands can do amazing things.
We wash, scrub, sew, dress, drive, talk – we do a lot of things with our hands. A lot of things. In different cultures in various times in history, men and women have been judged by their hands. How hard a man works? Check the calluses on his hands. Beauty in a woman? Check her hands as well. From practical short nails to beautiful colored long ones, squared off nails to rounded ones, we can find out a lot about people from their hands.
But hands can do so much more. I have used mine for everything from holding my children to laying hands on my vehicle praying it would start (it did!). I have given my children guidance, comforted their pain, welcomed people into my home, and made someone’s day simply by waving to them.
For good or bad, these two funny-looking things on the ends of my arms have amazing capabilities.
Sitting in Chapel yesterday, I was reminded of such things. The Chaplain explained a time when he was deployed and had much fear in his heart. They had just come through an area in a convoy and gotten hit by IEDs. They had done what they had come to do in that area, and were going to need to head back to their original base. Fear. Real live fear.
The Chaplain knew that he needed to get in the HMMWV (a Humvee ;)) or no one else would – I mean, if the Chaplain doesn’t have faith to drive back, who is going to, right? The Chaplain’s friend and mentor took that very moment to put his hands on him and pray. Have you ever had someone do that for you?
We have been members of a church (civilian) and as we were attending on our last Sunday, some church members took us to the side, put their hands on us and prayed for us – much like they were sending out missionaries. What an amazing feeling. To feel their hands and hear their words – God was in that place.
Scripture talks about hands quite a bit, many times talking about them in reference to healing or blessing. Truth be told, I think the power of God is the same regardless, but there is something drastically different about touching someone, holding their hand even, and praying for them.
In today’s world, I think we lose this a bit. We become so “virtual” that we don’t live here and now and actually connect with people. I struggle with this. I am not a hugger by nature. I like my personal space and figure God gave it to me for a reason. I invite people in periodically, but it is not a natural thing for me to just let anyone and everyone into my space. I am learning to live and love for real, though. This takes me stepping out of my comfort zone and allowing others to step in.
You can imagine those who go days or weeks without anyone really hugging them, holding their hand, patting them on the back, whatever. Guys and gals who are deployed experience this – long periods of time without any real personal touch – sometimes not even a handshake. Those who are single and live alone experience the same thing.
So, my point today is not that we need to go hug everyone we meet – I would surely fail in that endeavor, but I would challenge us to live for real in the place we are. Connect with someone – like really connect. And yes, I would encourage you to put your hand on your spouse or friend and pray blessing and hope over them. God’s power is always there, but I promise there is something different about praying the power of God when you reach out and actually put your hand on their shoulder or hold their hand.
Hands can hurt or they can give hope. They can work and they can comfort. Hands – those strange things on the end of your arm – what would God have you to do with them today?