Hand crafted by God

 

It was Palm Sunday when the photo of my soon to be 21 son came onto my phone.  My eyes were drawn to Jacob’s hand. Attempt 2 at china photo The one that was boasting a thumbs up on a 12,000 foot peak. In China.  China?  How did my little boy go from lying on the floor and playing with Matchbox cars to a Man on top of a mountain half a world away.  How did his chubby little fingers turn into the strong man hand that found its way to China?~Time.

cross in palmEarlier that day, because it was Palm Sunday, I was contemplating the hands of Christ.  Now I know that Palm Sunday is really about the branches…from a palm tree.  But my wordsmith mind was busy juxtaposing the whole vine and branches and nails in the palm and what must it have been like for Mary.

Mary, the mother of Jesus and the first holder offolded hands Jesus’ hand.  Her son too found himself on top of a mountain.  I wonder what she thought. When she received Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh as baby gifts did it plant a seed of knowing or did the whole trajectory of Holy Week take her by surprise? Culminating by weeks end with the raw groaning pangs of seeing her little boy’s palms brutally pierced and bleeding.

Her boy was innocent.  He was falsely accused. Her hands were tied, his fate was in the hands of his Father. I can remember going to bat for my son when he was falsely accused and standing up for him in his defense.  Mary didn’t have that chance.

101_9456Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Jesus which sent him to the cross.Palm Sunday forced my thoughts back to the hands.

God’s hand shaped and formed universe and he breathed life into all of humanity.

For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. ~ Isaiah 66:2

thorns

The hand of God punished.

“You who have forsaken Me,” declares the LORD, “You keep going backward So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am tired of relenting!” ~ Jeremiah 15:6


The hand of God saved and protected.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”~ Isaiah 41:10

His hands Healed.

Hands in fountain“Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” ~ Matthew 8:3

His hands offered proof.

“And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” ~ John 20:20

From His beginning and from ours we have been in the palm of His Hand.  He goes with us, he will never leave us.  He never lets go of us.  He was pierced for our transgressions.  He was falsely accused and willingly executed on our behalf.  When life becomes a handful, remember who is really holding it all together.

Point to Ponder:  Has there been a time when you truly felt the hand of God in your life? How did you know it? What did it feel like?

Leave a comment about how you knew and felt the hand of God guiding you.

Those who comment AND sign up on the email list (top right) will be considered for a drawing of a special Kissed by the Creator token crafted by the hand of God.  Totally Genuine and Nothing Artificially Added.  Prizes will be awarded on April 15th!

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Wind of HOPE

Recently our town was buffeted by winds of more than 40 MPH for several days. As I lay in bed waiting for the roof to be ripped off, I thought when will it tire? How much wind is there?

This wind was relentless it just kept coming as if the supply was infinite.

I looked outside and could not see the wind during the day or night.

The wind was invisible but the results the next morning were tangible. Recycling bins had toppled spewing forth plastics from blocks away. Branches and sticks laden with buds were strewn across the yards  like tombstones marking the death of the tender leaves that would never see spring.

Hope is like that. You can’t see it with your eyes or touch it with your hands. But hope or the lack of it leaves tangible evidence. It is amazing that the presence or lack of something so intangible can be so significant in our lives.

Martin Luther said, “Until a person experiences suffering, he cannot know what it means to hope.”

What does the Bible say about hope? In Hebrews 6:19 the NKJV it says:

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil…

The Bible refers to HOPE as our anchor, but what’s more, it says that HOPE allows us to enter into the presence of God. Since the Lord’s presence is where all the treasure and life-giving, life-sustaining power is – that is where we need to be. We need to maintain our hope.
Herman Melville said, “Until we learn that one grief outweighs a thousand joys, we will not know what Christianity is trying to make us.”

Worse than whatever pain we are dealing with or crisis we are experiencing is that hopelessness that comes with a sense that there is no purpose or value to the pain.


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Sorrow can cause our prayers to cease. We begin to doubt and ask “How can a good God allow anything so bad?”

Sometimes in these situations, holding on to hope requires that we let go of EVERYTHING else.

The Bible records several examples of prayers that were not answered the way the petioner hoped. First, we have the family of Lazarus who prayed he would not die. He died. But Jesus eventually raised him from the dead, giving GOD bigger Glory and building the faith of many. We have Paul who prayed fervently 3x to have the “thorn in his side” removed. It never was, yet this man went on to have a successful ministry and his perseverance has given countless Christians hope. Then we have Jesus, the son of God, who prayed to have “the cup removed” from him prior to his death. It was not removed. God allowed his son to be tortured and killed which resulted in our Salvation and eternal life.

So when we are enduring, it really might not be about us. It could be about giving others HOPE to endure and believe in a God who’s strength they see lived out as we walk out our grief.

How do we hold on to our hope when the storm comes? I believe it has a lot to do with what we do when times are good. Building our relationship with Christ through daily prayer and study of His Word creates a foundation with deep roots which can anchor us when the storms come.

“In my deepest wound, I saw your glory and it dazzled me.” ~ Augustine

No one could probably relate more to deep wounds than Joseph in the Old Testament. Few innocents endured more pain and suffering than Joseph. He was sold, beaten, imprisoned, falsely accused, and imprisoned again. But his twelve years of trials put him in a position where he could spare a nation from starvation AND bless his own family. There are no pity parties recorded as he faced his trials.

One of my favorite Hymns is “It is Well with My Soul” the story behind it is amazing. Horatio Spafford (1828-1888) was a wealthy businessman who lost his only son to illness and then much of his wealth in a fire in Chicago. He and his family scheduled a trip abroad to recover from their heartbreak. His wife and four daughters set sail before him. The ship they were sailing on was broadsided by a tanker and sunk within ten minutes. The cable he received from his wife said, “Saved Alone”. It was on his way to his wife that he passed the spot in the sea where his four daughters perished – and there above the dark waters during the darkest of his days he penned the words:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Why was Horatio able to withstand such tragedy?  He was connected with the Creator. We grow relationships by interacting. The relationship with our Creator is also forged by interaction. Daily interaction in the form of prayers and study of his word, helps us form a foundation that is not easily shaken.

He becomes our anchor and what we tether ourselves to when the storm hits.

Point to Ponder: What are you tethered to? Where do you place your hope? When the storm comes, will you be ready?

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