A few days ago, I read a short article in the newsletter of a congregation pastored by a friend of mine. The article was the posting of another good friend (his wife). She does a monthly column called Ponderings From the Pastor’s Partner.
I don’t read church newsletters very often. They tend to bore me. I make an exception with this one, however, because of Cheryl’s articles. I’ve kidded my friend (her husband) about the fact that she’s a much better writer than him, but only because it’s true. I’m hoping she’ll put together a collection of her stuff in a book someday.
I asked her if I could reprint this one, because it struck me as particularly touching, informative, and inspirational. She acquiesced, and here it is. I hope it moves you as much as it did me.
One of the first things you do when you start dating is to hold hands. There’s something very endearing about holding the hand of someone you care about. Chuck and I held hands a lot when we were dating. I have very fond memories of walking the campus of Grove City College, holding hands with the boy who would become the man I married. Back then, we held hands out of romantic love.
After we got married, we began to have children, and with each birth, Chuck held my hand for support. As we took walks with our children, we held their hands…to keep them safe and to make sure that they stayed with us. We used our hands to tie their shoes and to wipe their tears…to hug them and to care for them. During those years, we held hands out of parental love.
Our hands are amazing! We use our hands for so many purposes. Our hands are used for healing, helping and holding. They are used for working, creating and praising God!
There are many references to hands in the Bible as well. Moses held his hands up so that Joshua could defeat the Amalekites (Exodus 17:10-13). The Israelites who lapped up water with their hands were chosen to defeat the Midianites (Judges 7:5-25). David chose to put his life in the hands of God (Psalm 31:5). Jesus’ last words from the cross were committing His spirit into His Father’s hands (Luke 23:46). Now, Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father in Heaven…promising to be with us always…holding us in the palm of His hand with godly love.
We are now empty nesters, and when we take walks, we hold hands out of romantic love, but also to steady each other…especially when hiking on uneven ground. Last Sunday afternoon, Chuck and I spent a couple of hours at Idlewild Park—one last time before they close for the season. I enjoyed walking through the fallen leaves with the autumn sunshine on our faces…holding hands with that boy once again out of a lifetime of love!
[Cheryl Hildbold is a graduate of Grove City College and currently secretary of the Jennerstown United Methodist Church.]