Ours are the hands

“Tim, can you come help us?”

A lady at church, possibly in early manifestations of Parkinson’s Disease, took a fall in the kitchen downstairs. Folks from the early service had cleared out, and I was the (relatively) strong back and (absolutely) weak mind sought out to provide a lift.

Thankfully she wasn’t hurt, but she wasn’t able to get up from the floor to use her walker. I was able to get my arms under hers, squat with good form and, on the count of three, lift her upright.

I went with her in the elevator up to the main floor, to accompany her out to her family’s car. The later service’s music leader was in the church practicing, and as I walked the lady toward the door, he was playing “How Firm a Foundation,” which includes the words,

I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

The lady was tearing up and asking me to pray for her, and I leaned my head close to hers and told her that the music she was hearing went with those lyrics. I told her that I would be using them to pray for her, asking God to “hold her up.” Now my eyes were getting misty as we labored through the door, out to the parking lot.

I was her care giver for just a few moments this morning. I wasn’t in the best mood as I was trying to shake off a sleepless night, courtesy of the autistic son for whom Melissa and I are into two decades of care giving. Yet the opportunity at church, with musical accompaniment, no less, touched me as a great honor.

Care givers become the “hands of God.” Miracles would be great, but for whatever reason hidden in the divine plan, we are the principal means by which God “strengthens, helps and holds up” those in our care.

As St. Teresa of Avila wrote in 14th century Spain,

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
No hands but yours,
No feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which is to look out Christ’s compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

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