Hand in Glove

 

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His old leather gloves are worn and soft, wrinkled across the knuckles, cracked in the palms, permanently formed in the shape of his hands. If they were used for a plaster mold, the result would be an accurate cast of my husband’s hands. Clad in these gloves, his strong hands have dug gardens, shoveled snow, repaired cars, hung Christmas lights, even gently cradled newborn grandbabies in their broad, warm palms. Muscles, bone and sinew working together to perform specific tasks have given these gloves their unique shape. But when they are laid aside on the shelf, no matter how much they resemble my husband’s hands, they are powerless. Only his hands within them bring warmth to cold leather and strength to hollow fingers.

When I feel weak and empty I sometimes see myself as a laid aside glove. My spiritual form is made in the image of God. Like a glove, the shape of my soul is contoured by the life of Christ within it. But when I have in some way blocked His life-giving power from filling out the contours of my soul, then I am weak and ineffectual. Not that I have been discarded. That is not possible, for He promised, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:28 NIV)

The truth is, I don’t always allow Christ’s indwelling Spirit liberty to expend the power He desires to work out in my life. Sometimes my passion for Him wanes, my eyes stray from His face, I become distracted by my own desires and self-preoccupation, worried and burdened by the temporal. And my soul begins to slowly deflate like a balloon losing air, or an unworn glove.

When this is happening, it takes me a while to catch on. I begin to notice my spiritual energy leaking away and I am less effectual within my own faith life and in the lives of those around me. So I know I need to draw near again. Set aside the tasks of the day and spend some time nourishing my soul in the Word of God, listening to His heart in prayer and meditating on His love and goodness. Gradually the fingers of my glove tingle with returning strength. Not my own but the strength of God’s power vitalizing my grip, working through me to accomplish those things He desires me to do which I cannot do on my own.

“For it is not your strength, but it is God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work, strengthening, energizing and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose for His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13 AMP)

It takes some time for a new pair of gloves to take on the shape of the hands they belong to. Fingers are stiff and tasks done clumsily, yet with use the leather gradually forms to the hand’s unique shape. I want my soul to be well-used, sculpted in the shape of my Saviour whose Spirit fills me from within to work out His purposes. It is a unique, miraculous partnership, hand in glove.

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An Atmosphere of Thanksgiving

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“He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
From one man He made all the nations,  that they should inhabit the whole earth;  and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live and move and have our being.”  (Acts 17:25-28 NIV)

In the twilight between sleep and wakefulness, I become aware of my breathing; the rhythmic intake and outflow of air continuing as it has since my first infant cry.
And I am thankful to God, who gives me life and breath and everything else.

Often I find myself thinking about the bond I have with all people, whether near or far, for we are made in the same image with common needs, desires and dreams.
And I am thankful to God, because my origins began in one person from whom He populated the whole earth, with many diverse cultures and nations.

Whenever I suffer from a sense of insignificance, I remember that my life has specific parameters in time so I might fulfill the purposes for which it was created.
And I am thankful to God, who determines in His providence when, where and how I live.

So God gave me life and breath. He gave me the faces of others in which to see myself. He gave me an appointed destiny within time. Why?

God did this so that I would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us. For in Him I live and move and have my being.

In God I live and move and have my being. My entirety is captured in that one brief sentence, causing such a welling up of gratitude, I feel I may burst with the vitality of it. He fashioned my being, my connection with others, my function in the world, so that I would seek Him and reach out for Him. He planted eternity in my heart, where nothing else would satisfy but Himself. And in my seeking He is not far, because His desire is for communion with me.

I am made in the “imago Dei”, the image of God, according to Genesis 1:26-27. I am representative of the crown of His creation, possessing the ability to reason, moral volition, relational capabilities, and inherent spirituality. God did not give the animals the ability to think outside themselves, to ask the big questions of life or be aware of their own future death.

With these uniquely human qualities comes the capacity for much pain, despair and sin. But these qualities also provide a great capacity for worship, for joy, for gratitude given to God, Creator of heaven and earth and the lover of my soul.

God has given me ….
                        life and breath and everything else,
                             appointed times and boundaries,
               the ability to seek Him, reach for Him and find Him.

He is not far from me, nor has He ever been, even when my back was turned to Him.
The fact is, He is as close as my very breath, because I am created in His image to live and move and have my being.

May thanksgiving to God be the atmosphere of my days forever.