"Trust in him at all times... pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge."
~ Psalm 62:8
In his book, "The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life" Henri Nouwen writes:
I am so afraid to open my clenched fists!
Who will I be when I have nothing left to hold on to?
Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands?
Please help me to gradually open my hands
and to discover that I am not what I own,
but what you want to give me.”
Many of us live our entire lives with our fists closed, unwilling to be vulnerable. The line, "Who will I be when I stand before you with empty hands," reminds me that in order to invite others, we must be willing to extend our hands to others.
I think of the times that I have heard, and even used the excuse myself, that God must have "someone else," in mind who could do this better. Clenched fists are more than a sign of anger, they are also a sign of unwillingness to learn.
Years ago I met a wonderful saint who shared these words, "Offer God your imperfections, and then see what happens."
She was right. We all carry in those clenched fists, our vulnerabilities, brokenness and mortal ways. It is through those experiences and our hands that the eternal God of creation becomes visible to us.
Each day we are invited to present, not just our open hands, but our whole lives to the Lord!
Our joys as well as our sorrows, successes and failures, our fears and our hopes. By keeping our fists closed, we limit our hands, and lives, from being available and able to do what God is requesting from us.
We are called to do so with our limited means, our stuttering words and halting expressions. In this way we will come to know in mind and heart the unceasing prayer of God’s Spirit in us. Our many prayers are in fact confessions of the times our hands are clenched, but they are also confessions that enable us to perceive the merciful presence of God.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.