Strong Hands & Wrestling Matches
cupboard. Five hundred teens and youth leaders race across a wooded campground,
and I pause my conversations, my camp games, and my zip-lining to meet with
He’s been calling me, and I needed to face the hard questions. Grabbing my
ninth or tenth cup of coffee, I poured in creamers to make up for bulk-brewed
coffee smoldering for hours over heat, and sat down at a sunny table near the
“What’s keeping you from total all-out radical obedience here, Jen?”
God whispers, and I scratch across white and blue lines, daring to put into
words what I have been afraid to speak aloud. In print, they are just as scary,
but it helps somehow.
Three pages later, I am face to face with the Creator, and he still asks the
hard questions. I answer honestly, and fold the papers up small, slipping them
in my back denim pocket.
Three days later, in a tinkling Italian eatery over artichoke pizza and a salad
sampler, I breathe deeply for courage and bare my soul to two close friends
from college. With flaming face and staring at the table, I draw boxes with my
finger on the black smudged table top, as I talk and cry.
They listen, ask gentle questions, affirm their love, pray for me, and urge me
to obey the Holy Spirit’s obvious promptings.
In the ancient book of Zechariah, there is a section that has grabbed my
attention this weekend. Apparently, the Hebrew translation of the word
“encourage” is “let your hands be strong” or “to
strengthen the hands.”
be afraid and to let their hands be strong. “Let your hands be
strong,” God says, as he asks his refugeed people to work on the
“Let your hands be strong and don’t be afraid,” he tells me today as
I wrestle with obeying God in every part of my life, even the agonizing hard
friends who need us. As we encourage, we help them have strong hands for the
jobs set before them also.
Photos courtesy of Microsoft Clip art.