Monday, March 26, 2012

His Hands

“Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as the potter does?’ declares the Lord. ‘Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.’” (Jeremiah 18:1-6)

Soft clay. Moldable. Shapeable. Conforming to the intentions of the potter and the unique design in his mind. No resistance to his masterful hands. Have your way with me, O Lord. I am surrendered to you.

Hard clay. Brittle. Breakable. Resisting the work of the potter and the design in his mind. No, Lord, my way is better. I don’t want what you want for me. I reject the work of your hands.

Last week in Beijing, a friend set up an appointment for me to see a Chinese doctor who could possibly help me with my neck problems and relieve some of my headache pain. As I positioned myself on a stool in Dr. Wang’s clinic, he stepped behind me and placed his hands on my neck. His hands were experienced and could feel out the sensitive, painful spots almost instantly. I knew that I could trust these hands. So I set up 5 appointments for the 5 days we would be in Beijing. Those appointments involved painful massage and manipulation as well as acupuncture needles, but that was okay because I knew that pain would be part of the process.

He would ask, “Does this hurt?” and I would cry out, “Yes!” Then he would push harder. “Can you stand it?” And I would grit my teeth, “Yes, I can stand it.” Then he would tell me to relax and I would try as hard as I could to let go of any resistance as he twisted and pulled my neck into positions I wasn’t sure that my neck wanted to go. Today is my 6th day in a row now without a headache! Truly the best headache-free stretch I have had in a long time, and I am very, very grateful.

On the train coming back from Beijing, Jordan was sick (already for a day and a half) with a fever and sore throat. She became steadily weaker on the train and fainted while waiting outside the bathroom. We were thankful that she hadn’t already entered the bathroom and locked herself in! Charly and I took turns during the night sitting up with her on her bottom bunk in case she needed anything, as she was sicker than we had ever seen her, and we weren’t sure that we could hear her from the top bunks. As I watched her sleep, and asked God to help her get better, I could hear God asking me, “Do you trust My hands the way you trusted the doctor’s?”

Just as I had let go of as much resistance as I could in my neck to let him have his way, so now, I was choosing to let go of my worries by saying, “Have your way with Jordan, Lord.” Even if this road leads to death (such were the fears about our sick, almost lifeless girl in the middle of the night, on a train in the middle of nowhere), Your ways are good.

You are good. You work all things out for good. I trust Your hands as the masterful potter who has a plan.

Jordan was so dizzy and weak the next morning that Charly had to piggy back her off of the train. But her strength gradually returned as we traveled home from the train station, and she was able to walk up our nine flights of stairs when we got to our apartment building. And by the next day, apart from a lingering cough, she seemed back to her normal, bubbly self! We are very, very grateful that her health has been restored.

Trusting His hands. To shape. To protect. To guide. To comfort. Letting go of all my resistance.

“On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” (Psalm 63:7-8)

“Into your hands I commit my spirit…My times are in your hands.” (Psalm 31:5a, 15a)

How are His hands shaping your life? Are you trusting or resisting Him?

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