Now, THAT'S a Beautiful Picture!
Read: John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:17-18
I was listening to one of Joni Tada's devotional thoughts this week when one word lodged in my thinking. May I briefly tell the story she shared? Joni who is now in her early 70's has been in a wheelchair since she was paralyzed in a diving accident when she was 17 years old. Joni related how many people came to visit and help her when she was hospitalized after that horrific injury. She said they showed her Jesus'
love even though, at the time she hadn't seen it that way. Then came the word that touched my heart. Joni said that Jesus had borrowed the hands of those who came to help her. The Savior borrowed her girlfriends' hands to wash her hair on Saturdays. He borrowed her mother's hands to hold a book for Joni and turn the pages so she could read. I love that picture of the Lord choosing ordinary hands to demonstrate His love to those in need. That's each of us, isn't it?
Can you picture Jesus urging someone to meet a need, borrowing his hands because the Savior Himself isn't available here on earth to demonstrate the love He has for those in need. So often, we pray that people would experience God's love in their distress or pain. There was an incident I'll always remember when God borrowed the hands of an ordinary woman to remind my husband and I of His loving presence in our lives. It was many years ago, and my husband was in the hospital. It was a difficult time for us with lots of ups and downs. One night, my husband was asked to submit to a test where he needed to drink liquid that, because of a gag reflex, he knew he wouldn't be able to keep down. He was asked to try anyway. Sadly, his prediction of becoming sick came to pass, and he wasn't able to reach the washroom in time. That's when it happened. The lady charged with clean up entered the room. My husband apologized for what had happened, and she pleasantly reassured him that this was her job and there was no need to be sorry. Then she sang hymns as she cleaned. Talk about Jesus borrowing the lips and hands of an ordinary woman on an ordinary evening. She demonstrated His patience and kindness with a mop in her hand and songs on her lips. How gracious God was to have her in that hospital on that night where she showed a beautiful picture of His love and reminded us that He was with us, ever present to help us in a time of need, Psalm 46:1.
When we really think about it, isn't it amazing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords borrows our hands? He Who made everything, Hebrews 11:3 graciously uses us as a tiny part of His overarching plan of redemption. It is more unbelievable than Elon Musk approaching me to ask for a $5 loan to tide him over for the rest of the day.
Both James and Jesus speak concerning showing love. We can't be everything to all people, but when prompted by the Holy Spirit, we can demonstrate Jesus' love in tangible ways according to the giftedness we have received. Words are beautiful, and they too can demonstrate God's love; however, words without love showed through appropriate actions don't 'paint an accurate picture of God's love that sees needs and meets them. After all, God met our greatest need through His actions. He gave Jesus in order to provide salvation, the most important need we each have, John 3:16. We needed to be reconciled to God because of Adam's sin. The Savior didn't only speak words of promise, he fulfilled every promise concerning redemption that He ever made. The Father used the hands of Jesus, allowing them to be pierced for our transgressions, Isaiah 53:5. He didn't merely say that we should go in peace and be free of our guilt. No, He bore our sins, guilt and shame so we could be at peace with God, Romans 8:33; Romans 5:1.
When God borrows our hands to touch a precious one who doesn't yet belong to Him, who can know if what the Lord prompts us to do might help sustain that person so he can later receive Jesus' most precious gift. When the Lord borrows our hands to serve a brother or sister, we might be the encouragement that allows them to keep ministering to others.
Lord, Our hands are available for You to borrow. Thank You for the hands You have used to bless each of us.