I’ve been thinking a lot about raised hands. What causes us to raise our hands? Here are a few things I jotted down:
1) To ask a question
2) To answer a question
3) To make a statement
4) To catch something
I work with children at an after school facility. Sometimes when I am explaining something they will raise their hand in order to ask a number of different things. With kids, you never know what they might ask!
Sometimes, I will say, “Raise your hand if you want to play dodge ball”.
When they raise their hands they are answering “Yes, I want to play dodgeball”.
Other times, I will say, raise your hand when you’re here. By raising their hands they are saying, “yes! I am here”.
Something interesting happened this week. I was sitting in church when my pastor said, “If you have ever lost someone dear to you, raise your hand”. The next thing he said was, “raise your hand if you have a debilitating illness that you’ve prayed for healing from raise your hand” then the last one he said was, “Raise your hand if you’ve experienced a broken relationship”. I was astonished at how many hands were up. It was an eye opening moment.
Then the worship began, and I realized that the same hands that were raise for those broken relationships, those who had lost love ones and those who had a debilitated illness were being raised to God in worship.
One woman who sat in front of me raised her hand for having a debilitating illness and when the worship began, she raised her hand in worship. You could see that she couldn’t straighten out her arm all the way up, but that wasn’t going to stop her from worshipping God.
It dawned on me that our suffering, loss and heartache is so much bigger than ourselves. Our suffering can be worship to our Creator. And how many more people would be able to see God because instead of keeping our brokenness and hurt to ourselves, we raised our hands. We say not only in the sanctuary at work but to those around us: I have insecurities, I am scared of fainting, I’m broken, I am weak, I mess up, but I can lift this up to Jesus because He is the only one who knows what to do with it.
I don’t know how to suffer well. I fall short every day. I get stuck in my comfort zone. I am selfish. I am needy. I am weak, but God! God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. He is with us before we face trials, in the trials and after the trials. He wants us to give Him everything: the good, the bad and the ugly. He redeems it all and it all is for Him.
So my challenge for this week is to be more open about my faults because I don’t know how many people I may meet who fall into these categories. And they may not have anyone to give their suffering to. Maybe God allowed your suffering and my suffering so that the world would know God’s suffering and His love for them!
Look what 2 Corinthians 4:5-12 says:
5For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”a made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
As I was sharing this with my sister, Linda, she said this: If we hold on to our broken relationships, illness etc we can’t receive all God has to offer. You catch a football with open hands. The same with God’s blessings.
When we open our hands to give God whatever we have, He can in return show us more of Him. My prayers is that I would be an empty vessel so that God do as He pleases. So don’t be weary of your brokenness. God uses all things!