My house is currently in the handprints-on-everything stage. There are several upsides to this. For one, whenever I take the time to wash the windows, do they ever look amazing! I mean, imagine glass you don’t actually see. Imagine looking at a window and only seeing the grass and sky outside. Revolutionary! The other upside is, of course, what all those smudges mean—that my house is full of busy little hands, diving into life.
I love to watch Isaac use his hands, especially his left hand. Even though it’s smaller, I have no doubt he’ll figure out the most efficient way to use it because that’s what babies do. They don’t analyze what they’ve been given and whether it’s more or less than what others have. They’re oblivious to how they look when they’re learning something new, and they never add up their failures and decide to stop trying. For now, it’s very simple for Isaac: these are the hands he’s been given, so he’s putting them to work.
A few months ago Pastor Mario pointed out how important it is to let God write your story and not to judge it before you know how it ends. I immediately thought of Isaac, how his different hand is part of his story, our story as a family. And I took it as God’s reminder to walk the path marked for us with our eyes on Jesus.
It’s a constant temptation for me to look at the people around me and analyze their path, whether it’s easier or harder than mine. The other day I asked Ad if he could think of any verses in the Bible that specifically tell us not to compare. “Well, one of the ten commandments is not to covet, which implies we shouldn’t compare,” he said. We talked a bit more and then suddenly we remembered the passage at the end of John, where Jesus tells Peter how his life will end. (Can you even imagine it?!) Jesus tells Peter that when he is old, someone will “take you where you don’t want to go.” And then the Bible flat out states, “Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God.” Peter looks at John and asks Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” And Jesus replies, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”
Jesus’s question was for Peter, but I think sometimes he asks me the same thing. I catch myself thinking, She gets to live near her family, and I hear it. “What is that to you?” Her dad is still alive. Her mom is not a widow. “What is that to you?” Her baby’s hands… And again, “What is that to you? Follow me.”
Sometimes the words of Jesus are so very hard. We like to think of him as everybody’s pal, and in some ways he is. He gave his life because God wants everyone to be saved. And aside from the religious leaders of his day, everybody wanted to hang out with him. But Jesus is not neutral. He told us to believe in him and to follow him. And in the end, there will be a clear, dividing line—you either believed him or you didn’t. You either followed him or you headed off in your own direction.
Pastor Colin Smith says, “Faith is an open hand.” The beauty of believing and following is that the faith we need comes from God. All we have to do is ask him for it. And when I picture our family, that’s my favorite image—the six of us together, lifting up our flawed, messy hands, asking God to give us the faith we need to walk our path to Him.