I have a hard time letting go. And it could save your life.
My right hand has 2 fingers that are permanently bent as the result of falling off a ladder a few years ago. I’ll put my keys in my pocket, for example, but the key ring often loops around one of my crooked fingers. Not only do I end up accidentally pulling the keys back out of my pocket, I even pull the pocket wrong-side-out.
Having a crooked, hook-like hand isn’t all bad. For instance, if you were falling over the edge of a cliff and I caught you with my right hand, there’s a greater chance my arm would fall off before my hand lets you go.
Like I said: My difficulty letting go could save your life.
The downside is that I only have one hand with the built-in claw. Let’s say that both you and your friend fell off a cliff at the same time. Whoever receives my left hand better be prayed up.
A couple truths stand out to me as I reflect on my crooked fingers that don’t want to let go.
God calls on me – all of us actually – to be there for others. For others on the edge. For those stumbling and slipping and dangling desperately over an abyss. This is the amazing part of it all: It’s my own crookedness, my own brokenness that provides a solid place for people to grab ahold of.
When you’ve slipped and you are scared, the last thing I’d want to do is to let you go, because I know what it’s like to fall. I’d like to spare you the consequences if I can.
Like Adam in my own garden, I fell. A lot. For a time, I went into hiding. But I’ve learned to trust God with my brokenness. Out from behind the bushes I extend my arm with the crooked fingers. I believe that the God of great grace redeems those of us bent out of shape, crooked from the fall. God may not always straighten everything back into place, but He heals and redeems the crooked stuff. Ironically the hand that appears worthless is now best suited for holding heavy loads.
The times I have grown most weary — burned-out, dangerously weary — were times I thought my free hand was strong enough to do more than God could do with my redeemed hand.
This brings me back to that situation where two people have slipped at the same time, both needing to be caught, held, helped. Can I hold them both, one with my crooked hand and one with my free hand?
Probably not. Therefore I must trust.
No, I don’t trust that the person in my left hand is wearing a parachute. I trust that God will bring someone else in all their crooked glory to hook and rescue those I can’t hold on to.
People in trouble need more than my free hand. They need a redeemed hand. Can I be so bold as to say that they need YOUR crooked, redeemed hand?
We are in this together, you and I. Me in my busted, broken-yet-blessed state. And you in your ragged, run over-yet-redeemed state.
Crooked hands, unite! We will do more than turn pockets wrong-side-out. By God’s grace we will turn a world upside down.