Raise Your Hands!

There are several references to the act of “raising your hands” in the Bible.  As German Lutherans, it’s something that we rarely do in church. I fall into that group of non-hand raisers. I really don’t know why other than it was something that my parents never did, so….

As some of you know, my brother-in-law went to be with Jesus last week.  He had a long battle with “agent orange” from Viet Nam. He also had severe emphysema from years of smoking. His final days were extremely difficult to witness. Laying in bed attached to a positive pressure ventilator, he struggled for every breath that he could take. Each time the machine would engage, he would lurch forward lifting his chest off the bed. He would then drop back on to the bed during exhalation. The rest of his body was motionless with his arms to his sides and his legs straight down from his body.

After 26 hours of this activity, his breaths became shorter and more rapid.  That lasted for another 5 hours. Suddenly, with one more gasp, his arms raised and his hands opened as if he were reaching toward heaven. With that final breath, his eyes opened slightly and it was over. Praise God! His pain was gone! His body totally relaxed and a palpable calm came over everyone in the room. The Lord had blessed my brother-in-law and all of us in the room, a sense of peace and joy that he no longer had to suffer!

What struck me most, in that experience, is how he raised his hands toward heaven! Was he being greeted?  Was he being ushered in? This is from a body that was unable to move! To a non-believer, it was probably a biological reflex. To us, we are reminded that Psalm 134:2 says to “lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!” Is that what was going on here? Job 11:13 tells us; “If you prepare your heart, you will stretch out your hands toward Him.” Psalm 63:4, the Psalmist writes; “So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.”

I pray that his experience will negate my reluctance to raise my hands while praising God!  “Call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised”!!

Blessings on your day!

Kent Patton, Operations Manager

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