In my last blog, I intimated that it looked like I'd be doing some "cleaning" in my life. I had no idea how I was going to do that. Knowing that something is wrong may be the first step, but it doesn't necessarily mean you know what the next step should be. Today, I think I discovered what the next step may look like. What follows is a word picture that will hopefully explain.
Have you ever been out working, perhaps in the yard or on some sort of construction site, and you had to carry a bucket that was so full it made your fingers ache? Sometimes as a teacher, I find I carry books home in a tote and they are so heavy I almost tip over. Even groceries can do this when you try to carry too many items in at one time. The connecting factor here is the weight and what it does to your hand. After a short time of carrying this load, your hand almost conforms to its load and develops into a sort of painful hook. When you finally let go of the load, your hand seems to scream out in pain as you try to straighten it once again. You may be tempted to put the load BACK into your aching hand simply to ease the pain. For a brief moment, you may wonder if you will ever hold that hand out in a normal manner again.
Of course, that is where the analogy begins. Some of us have been carrying a heavy load for so long, our hands are gripped around it like a vise. The weight may be different things: our jobs, our "stuff", our disappointment in life or with God, or even hurts from the past that fill our buckets like slop for a pig. Whatever it is, the thought of letting go is painful. We can't lift our hands no matter how hard we try because of that heavy load, and we can't seem to let go. We know we need to let it go, but every time we try, it's so painful we simply tighten our grip once again and try to go on.
There is good news. We don't have to carry that load forever....we don't even have to carry it another day. We do, however, have to make the choice to lay it down. At first, it may be so painful you are tempted to pick it back up. Yes, it hurts, but at least it's a pain that is familiar. If, however, you let go of that heavy weight and reach out to God in faith, He will take that twisted hand and take away that pain. Picture the way someone would reach out in love and gently massage those twisted fingers and help the circulation return...
Perhaps your spirit has been twisted with pain much like arthritis or injury twists the joints of a hand. The pain is real. The hurt is real, but God is there reaching out to you, waiting for you to let Him take away the pain. The thing is, first you have to let go of the "bucket". Let go of the hurt, let go of your right to feel justification at our anger, let go of whatever weight is keeping you from running the race set before you. Simply let go. God is waiting to take your hand. Shift your focus from the weight to His hand reaching out for you. In time, that poor twisted hand will be stretched out, free of pain and free to reach out for joy.
What about the bucket? Leave it where it is....God will take care of that load far better than you ever could. Just take His hand and trust Him to lead the way.