“And he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Come here…Stretch out your hand.’” (Mark 3:3)
We often appear like the man with the withered hand, crouching in the shadows, fearful that our shortcomings will be conspicuously visible before the accusing eyes of others. Surprisingly, we do not need to grovel and beg for God’s attention like orphans in the wild. He is the one who notices us right off, calls us to come close, and commands us to stretch out our limitations before him. His Word holds authority and unleashes his power. Intent on our restoration, he will ensure our healing is complete. Nothing will stand in his way, not even our doubts and fears.
Sometimes we are much like the great crowd thronging him at the water’s edge in Galilee. We press for answers and surge in his direction, desperate for a cure or a miracle or two to help us get by. We have heard reports of his compassion and his caring, and we readily approach for a generous serving of the same. The massive crowd by the sea threatened to crush him. Perhaps we mimic their actions when we are more intent on what he can bestow on us than we are in knowing him, in listening closely to his word, and seeing his face in the dimly lit spaces of our lives.
The Lord does not answer to us; we answer to him. He does not require our assistance, but we desperately require his. He welcomes us with all our weaknesses and brings relief to all our weary places. What difference does a withered hand or wounded heart make when he is concerned?
Elizabeth A. Mitchell
Photo: Paul Westel