Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Backward Glance

Many years ago, when I was a young mother and pastor’s wife, we had a small church paper to which I contributed regularly. This was back in the late sixties, when Dr. John R. Rice was the editor of the Sword of the Lord. They published books as well, and many of you probably have some of them. His secretary, Viola Walden, was a great compiler, and in one of her compilations (actually several of them), she used one of my little homespun pieces. I came across it again recently and thought it might be nice to pass it along to my readers, some forty years later. We shall see if the young mother was very different from the “mature” great-grandmother.

Let Me See Your Hands[i]

What kind of hands do you have? Are they long and slender? Or are they short and plump? Are they rough and red? Or are they smooth and soft? Maybe they are strong and steady, or maybe they are weak and shaky. I don’t know which of these things are true of you; but, if you are a mother, I think I can safely say your hands are full.

When your husband was courting you, his first show of affection probably was to hold your hand. It was your hands, more than anything else that gave your baby assurance of your love and protection.

My mother knows whether or not her pie curst will be good by the feel of the dough in her hands. And what woman would buy a piece of material that she had not first run her hand carefully over?

The Bible has a lot to say about hands. In fact, long before the FBI knew it, God told us in Job 37:7 that a man could be traced through his fingerprints. And as far as a woman’s hands—if you’ll check the verses concerning the “virtuous woman” in Proverbs 31, you’ll find the words “her hands” used seven times. They tell us that she worked willingly with her hands, planting a vineyard, making cloth, caring for the poor and her household, in general.

If God feels that the feet of a preacher are beautiful because they are used to spread the news of the Gospel, then surely He must think busy, helping hands are the loveliest part of a woman. Remember the little song the children sing: “Oh, be careful little hands what you do. Oh, be careful little hands what you do. There’s a Father up above looking down in tender love; so be careful little hands what you do.”

Say, what kind of hands do you have?

I probably wrote those words late at night after putting our little ones to bed. That would have been the only chance I would have had to do it! Even then, I wanted to see my thoughts on paper, whether anyone else ever did. As one of my English teachers used to say, “How do I know what I think till I see what I say?” My hands may not be as busy as they were in those days, but, thank God, my mind is just as agile (sometimes). The hands that used to change diapers are now trying to change lives through the written word. Sometimes, like Job, I miss those days “when my children were about me” (Job 29:5), but I understand that my service to God and my children did not end when they slipped from my fingertips to step out into their own spheres of responsibility. The Psalmist says, “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age” (92:14), and my goal is the tribute given to the virtuous woman.

“Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

[i] Walden, Viola. Under Construction. Murphreesboro, TN: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1994, p. 94.

No comments:

Post a Comment