Key Word:- TRUST
Title:- Making Rain With Withered Hands
Matthew 12:13 Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other
Oliver sacks in his book ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat,’ recounts the clinical tale of Madeleine J, a congenitally blind woman with Cerebral Palsy, who had been looked after by her family at home throughout her life. Sacks recounts that, “Madeleine spoke freely and eloquently, revealing herself to be a high-spirited woman of exceptional intelligence and literacy.” He assumed this blind woman was widely read through the use of Braille. Her reply revealed that she did most of her reading through other people, that is, by listening to audio. Her hands couldn’t hold a book or turn a page, they were as she put it, “Useless godforsaken lumps of dough that don’t even feel part of me.” Sacks apparently was surprised to hear this, as Cerebral Palsy did not usually affect the hands and besides that, tests revealed that her sensory capacity was completely intact. Surprisingly though, Madeleine J. could not recognize anything with her hands!
Sacks’s theory for this gross incapacity was simple:- she had been babied and protected all her life, so much so, that she had been prevented from developing a normal pair of hands! Madeleine J had perfect elementary sensations in her hands but was unable to integrate these sensations with perception. He wondered if now, aged 60, this normal development could still be encouraged.
His instruction to care assistants was, without being cruel of course, to make Madeleine J, lay hold of her own food. One day, impatient and hungry, she finally reached out and grabbed a bagel and began eating. Within a year, her curious hands had now turned her into the locally famous ‘blind sculptress of St Benedict’s.’ The late learning of the grossly handicapped had revealed an astonishingly artistic sensibility. The dormant and the blighted now flourished.
Now in our text for today, the man whose hand the Lord healed was, instantaneously and thoroughly fixed! In an instant this one desperate man could now fully appreciate and totally utilize his restored appendage! Marvelous. Just Marvelous! In contrast, I want to suggest that millions of us gather on the Sabbath day with withered hands of worse condition than this man's ever were! As a Pastor, one of my chief observations is of our gross incapacity to reach out and lay hold of the goodness of God. This takes but elemental faith, yet the average Christian has such a massive disconnect between knowledge, perception and sensation that the inability to ‘rest and possess’ in believing faith, marks itself on us with withered hands and emptiness of every kind.
To our consternation, God will not treat us like babies. He will have us whole and not handicapped and so in multitudes of difficult and embarrassing circumstances He comes to us, the withered and the wretched, saying “Stretch out your hands!” As we do this, we feel great pain but if God is good to us, if God is good to us friends, He will consistently make things so difficult for us, that we have to keep on reaching out until a holy wholeness manifests itself in our hands. Beloved of God, I am convinced that as we cripples connect perception with sensation then artists, writers, builders, fighters, carers, caressers, healers, helpers and a multitude of wonderfully whole and energetic Christians shall be released into their destiny and into the world. So in the name of Jesus I say to many of you today, “Hey cripple! Keep stretching out your hand!”
Listen:- Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man's hand, rising out of the sea!” 1 Kings 18:46a
Pray: - Lord, when the effective fervent prayer of righteous Elijah made headway in the skies, it was the seventh time. It was persistent reaching, strong and stretching prayer that formed the cloud the size of a man’s hand, that in turn, unlocked a 3 year drought and flooded the land. So with us O Lord, form our hands as we stretch our reaching hearts, come unload the wet heavens of Your blessing upon us, in Jesus mighty name. Amen!