My Hands Hurt

My hands hurt. Most of the time, these days, they hurt.

Im not complaining, really Im not. Well, maybe just a little. And, I certainly dont think its my fault. But then, if I stop to think a moment, it could be.

A quick search of Google shows that I need to have soft hands for them to be considered beautiful. Or, is that just women? I really cant tell, but Im pretty sure gnarled and scarred hands arent all that attractive, regardless of which gender they belong to.

Ive never worried much about the appearance of my hands, but recently Im a little more aware of it. Having worked with my hands all my life (and talked with them, too), the osteoarthritis now settling in my joints is beginning to mar the symmetry of my once-straight fingers.

Other things are conspiring to make them less physically attractive, as well.

In just the last week, Ive pinched them with pliers (twice), cut them with a saw blade, with the sharp edge of an air conditioner duct, and the corner of a file. While I was at it, I smashed a knuckle using a power sander, and sliced the tip of my thumb with a utility knife (just tonight). I even have a jammed thumb on one hand, although I have no recollection of how that one happened.

The mind wandersas it doesand I recall my last day of working for an electrician in another life, decades ago. I was leaving that job to return to the music business full-time, and the electrician I worked with mentioned hed be calling Johnson & Johnson to warn them they might need to make some adjustments to their business plan. The puzzled look on my face led to his tongue-in-cheek explanation.

Since you wont be working for us anymore, we wont be purchasing all those bandages. Theyre likely to face bankruptcy soon, Id think.

When I work with my hands, I bleed. Its a given. And yet, I keep working with my hands. Blood washes off. Cuts and scrapes heal.

Even now, as I sit and write, my hands hurt again. I rub them gently, feeling a few new callouses ,and again my mind wandersfurther back, this time.

I was in my twenties. With young children, money was scarce, but we took the trip to South Texas anyway. Babies need to see their grandparents, and vice versa.

The car didnt make it all the way to my childhood home in the Rio Grande Valley. Well, it did, but we could only drive 30 miles per hour the last sixty miles of the trip.

I spent my vacation under the hood of that old car. By the time it was running right again, my callouses had callouses, as the red-headed lady who raised me would have described it.

One afternoon after the problem was sorted out, my dad introduced me to a friend of his. As I shook his hand, he looked down at mine, then back up at me and smiled.

Its nice to meet a young man these days who knows how to work with his hands.

Callouses. On callouses. I was embarrassed. And proudif you understand how that could be true as well.

Lend me a hand.
Get your grubby hands off!
Ive got to hand it to you.
He knows this town like the back of his hand.
Were just living hand to mouth these days.
Dont bite the hand that feeds you.

Give your hand in marriage.

My right-hand man.

These are only a small sampling of the phrases in our language in which the word hand plays a major part. Hands are important to us.

They are important to our God, as well.

His Word is full of hands.

Hands that took the fruit and put it to the mouthoriginal sin. (Genesis 3:6)

Hands that blessed a young man who was wearing animal skin on his own hands, to deceivethe father of the Children of Israel. (Genesis 27)

Hands that stretched over the sea, parting the watersa journey begun to freedom. (Exodus 14:21,22)

Hands that built a tabernaclea place for God to dwell among men. (Exodus 25:8)

Hands that played a harp to calm the souland later, to compose psalms of worship which endure until this daya sacrifice of praise. (1 Samuel 16:23)

A hand that wrote on a walla warning to Gods enemies. (Daniel 5:5)

Hands that were stretched wide in love. Hands through which spikes were driventhe blessing of Gods saving grace to all mankind. (Isaiah 53:5)

There are more.

Thousands of them. Hands. Doing good.

And yes, thousands doing evil.

Ive heard the words of God to Moses innumerable times. (Exodus 4:2)

What do you have in your hands?

Ive always thought the important thing was the answer to that question. Moses had a staff. I have other things. But, heres the deal.

God doesnt need my things.

He needs my hands.

My hands.

To be willing to be open. For Him.

Or, holding on. For Him.

My beaten up, scarred, stiff, sore hands.

With our hands, yours and mine, He will touch the worldperhaps one person at a timeperhaps thousands.

On second thought, Im certain that hands dont have to be soft to be beautiful.

Hearts. Hearts have to be soft.

The handscracked, calloused, gnarled, and stiffare beautiful simply because they serve. Wiping away a childs tears, touching the cheek of a newborn baby or a nervous bride, stroking the hair of a frightened mate, reaching out in love to serve.

And sometimes, they hurt. His did, too.

His did, too.

Oh, be careful little hands what you do,
For the Father up above is looking down in love.
Oh, be careful little hands what you do.

(from Oh Be Careful ~ American childrens song ~ Anonymous)

Let thefavor of the Lord our God be upon us;
Andconfirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes,confirm the work of our hands.

(Psalm 90:17 ~ NASB~ Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 byThe Lockman Foundation)

Paul Phillips. Hes Taken Leave. 2017. All Rights Reserved.

 Paul Phillips
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