Hands Up!

Hands Up!

February 25, 2019 5 By Nancy

Confession time.

If we’re being really honest, it was all I could do to not roll my eyes and look away.

I used to be really uncomfortable with people reaching out or lifting up hands to God during corporate worship. 

Photo: ahyakal

Culture, tradition, worship style, whatever you want to call it, I almost cringed. 

I thought about it for some time but never really studied it from a biblical perspective. 

It all boils down to what I was used to, what I grew up with, and what I was able to understand.

And yet…

The Bible is full of references to individuals lifting their hands in worship. Lifting their hands to God.

The question that had been, “Why do they do that?” became “Why am I so uncomfortable with that?” and “Why am I not doing it?”

I think it’s an intimacy thing. 

I love my husband dearly, but we rarely show affection for each other in public. I don’t hang on him and he doesn’t wrap his arm around me when we’re out and about.

I truly love God. And in my private worship, it is not unusual for me to reach out to him. So, why was I so uncomfortable with publicly showing that?

Have you had one of those moments, awake in the wee hours of the night when sleep eludes you? Praying. Pouring out your heart to God, who never sleeps and can always see us, even in the dark. Then, in a moment of deep need, you reach out to him. He is so real and so near that you physically reach out to him.

I had such a moment some years back. 

And in that moment, I flashed on my own two precious babies and how I loved it when they would reach those sweet little arms out to me. I sobbed. I had been so judgmental of brothers and sisters (mainly sisters, since we’re being honest), who reached out to their Father in a moment of love or need.

What are our children saying when they reach out to us? 

They’re saying lots of things, sometimes several things all at once. Things such as:

   I want to be close to you.

   I need your help.

   I need you to listen to me!

   I’m scared, sad, tired, hurting.

   You are my comfort, my ‘go to’.

   Let’s go together! Let me go with you!

   Don’t leave me!

   Look at what I have. I want you to see it!

   I brought this for you.

   I’m thirsty. Can you fill this for me?

   This is broken. Can you fix it?

Did you ever notice that children raise their arms and wiggle their fingers when the matter is urgent?

Like waving a red flag, they squirm, jump and wiggle those fingers to get immediate attention!

There are times when it’s exhausting. Children reach out to us for so many things. 

But oh, how I loved it!

I waited a long time to be a mother, and I truly tried to relish each day (and night). Again, being honest, the nights were way tougher!

I delighted in my girls! Precious treasures! How it would have hurt if they had stretched out their arms to another person or chosen to be alone rather than be with me. As they grew and matured, they were naturally able to do more and more for themselves. Consequently, they reached for me less and less. 

While it was a physical relief to not be needed as often, it affected me emotionally. Being able to do more for themselves, having other teachers and friends around to help and needing me less required some real emotional adjustment on my part. Older friends assured me that it was simply a part of the ‘empty nest syndrome’.

Both of my ‘girls’ are young adults now. There are days I sorely miss those two little girls. And, oh, how I love it when they come through the door and head toward me with their arms outstretched! And I make sure to hug them before they head out that same door.

God created us in his own image.

He describes himself as a parent in scripture. 

In the parable of the prodigal son, he pictures himself as a loving father, waiting out on the road. When he sees his child, you guessed it, arms out and hands up! An embrace.

Outstretched arms no longer make me uncomfortable. If it still makes you squirm a bit, I understand. 

I’ve been there. 

Can you ask yourself, “Is it possible that the discomfort comes from my perspective? My history? Is it possible that my issue isn’t with a sister’s or brother’s worship, but with my own view of how things should be?” 

I’m so thankful that God opened my mind and allowed me to see my worship and the worship of others in a new light. That being said, if you see me with arms up and hands outstretched toward my Father, don’t be surprised if you see my fingers wiggling. 


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