Open Hands

“She opens her hands to oppressed people

    and stretches them out to needy people.”

Prov. 31:20

Sitting in front of my laptop this morning, in a clean, comfortable hotel room, my thoughts are still in the desert, from which I am returning home. I still have sand in my suitcase. Clean, hot water coming out of the faucet in the sparkling clean bathroom – including a flush toilet – have become a piece of paradise in my mind.

Such little things we take for granted in our personal worlds. . . take on new meaning and appreciation when Life’s path leads you to a different world.

The richness of these simple things has become profoundly clear in my life, as it is in striking contrast to the world I step into a few times each year in my “other world”. . . the refugee camps in the Sahara. 

This morning, this verse from Proverbs jumped out to me.  It is part of a description of a woman, wife and mother from long, long ago.  I used to dread reading Proverbs 31, because it was full of reminders of how far short I fall in comparison to “Mrs. Perfect.”    But, in the middle of the stellar description of her, this little piece of the chapter seems to have greater depth and significance today.

Open hands. . . not a clenched fist.   What am I holding onto that I need to offer to someone else?  What am I clinging to?  What am I holding back – keeping for myself, that would make a sweet difference in someone else’s life?   Someone who has been “pushed down” in life . . . someone who has lost the things that used to be in their hands?  What have they lost due to the cruel actions of others?  What would it mean to them to be handed something that I have been holding onto? 

Stretched out hands. . . There is a choice to not only open my hands, but to physically move toward someone who has need.  It’s much easier to send a check or support someone who is actively involved with helping people who are in need. . . suffering in some way.  It’s another thing to physically interact and help meet a need – especially of a stranger.  

How do I view the oppressed people in my world?   What am I doing to personally touch the life of someone in need . . . in need of what I have?

Jesus remains our greatest Example. . . He was so often personally giving, serving, opening His Hands to those who were suffering.  Whether it was children, the sick, the rejected, the poor, the dirty, the diseased, the unloved, He opened His Hands to them.  He stretched out His Hands to touch them in a way that touched their personal need….that touched their very souls.

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