Look for a Hand

Jun 20, 2016

Squatting at her laundry tub beside her house with her skirt tucked between her legs, her eyes danced with joy and sorrow. She greeted me with a hug and as our cheeks touched, she grabbed my hand and pulled me into her home with a sense of urgency. 

Her parents are sick. She is an only child. She needs to leave for Haiti in the morning to take care of them and she doesn’t know when she is coming back. But THIS is her home and she has been here in this community for 40 years, she says.  We pray together with her lips quivering and me fumbling with my spanish and her filling in words for me when the silence grows too long.  I grapple with all of the emotion that has filled her home as we stand there hand in hand.  I am humbled by this sweet sharing of a burden by my sister in Christ, M, and her grabbing me by the hand with such urgency and intention was a gift to me. 

Moments earlier, and for weeks, actually, I have struggled with the despair that some issues in my own life have presented.  Quite honestly, I have felt like I am drowning in discomfort, discouragement and despair and the magnifying glass of the mission field in the blazing Carribean sun has intensifying properties.  Discouragement, dischord, disunity are all  powerful tools of the enemy, and while I have done my best to armor up in His word, with His truths as my offensive weapon, I confess that many days I have been rendered useless. I have let circumstances steal my joy.  I have allowed difficulties to dictate my worth. I have believed lies.  

But God . . . 

He was in that moment where sweat and tears mingled in the sweltering heat under her tin roof where everything she owned was visible to me - not her pots and pans, laundry tubs, clothes or bed, but the richness of God’s spirit indwelt in her, the bittersweet sacrifice of the trek she was making on behalf of those she loved, and her desire to pull someone into her pain for a moment to share in the immediate burden that was hers, and now that is also happily mine.  I needed my eyes to be redirected to another’s need rather than my own.  How many among you would welcome the hand of another woman vulnerably and intentionally letting you into her pain to share in the burden of it? Is it not a gift to be pulled in? 

If you are in the midst of an overwhelming struggle right now, I pray that you will also receive the gift of an outstretched hand of another whose challenges you may not know about. A little divine perspective goes a long way, not because we want to feel better because someone else has it way worse, but because there is a bigger picture that we need to see that is obstructed from us when we are focused on our own pain. M’s hand in my hand was a divine wake up call to guard against fixating on my own difficulties and to wake up to the gifts and opportunities He has for me today. It would be so sad to miss something so beautiful because of hardship, and I would have if she had not grabbed me by the hand!

I don’t know if I’ll see M again. I hope that she will be able to return to her home. She allowed me to snap this photo of her in front of her house right after our special time together, and it reminds me to look for a hand that needs to be grabbed and also to look for a hand to pull in when I am in need. There is a time for each and the Lord is in both.

I invite you today to ask the Lord which hand to look for in your life right now.

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