I drank from his hand.
I’ve been reading my journal from this time last year. I love reflection – pausing to remember grounds me, and fuels me.
I came across this journal entry that caught my attention:
I had this impression of drinking from Jesus’ hand, being fed by him. It requires deep humility and vulnerability. Like how Aunty Cynthia was in the end. I paused to reflect on that image of her in a place of total dependency. That’s a picture of how Jesus wants us – but instead of making us weaker, we are strengthened by our dependency on him.
I remember so many tender moments with my Aunty Cynthia. Over the course of a few years, we watched her slip away from us. Those times were difficult, yet they were tempered by the occasional graces of her memory and her voice returning – of her returning to herself, if only for a moment.
But in the end, she was completely weak. She could not even speak.
And Jesus was there.
He came so close you could feel him. His presence was unmistakable.
We cannot make sense of suffering on this side of heaven. But Jesus is here. He is with us. And his presence changes everything.
When I wrote this journal entry last year, my grieving of Aunty Cynthia was still so fresh. I was not dying from Alzheimer’s disease as she was, but I felt in many ways like her in my soul – just lying down on a bed of dependency, putting to death my self-sufficiency and waiting for Jesus to feed me, to clothe me, to give me a drink from his hand.
I was learning the fellowship of his suffering – the dying that must come, to surrender.
I am still learning.
It is impossible to surrender to Christ without laying down your life.
It is a daily surrender, yes. But there is a surrender of will, and of purpose, and of calling that comes when Jesus asks you to give up what you’re holding tightly on to.
Self-sufficiency. It will kill us – if we do not allow Christ to put it to death in us.
The illusion of self-sufficiency is that we have been providing for ourselves. It is the illusion that what we have earned, what we have worked for, came from our own hands.
It is a lie.
Everything we have – all that that we have worked toward, all that we have achieved, all that we have been given – has come from the hand of the One who created the universe.
It is God who holds all things together. (Heb. 1:3)
The act of returning what is in our hands to the One who gave it – it is an act of courage. It is an expression of trust. That what he is asking you to give up will not kill you.
It will not overwhelm you.
It will not harm you.
It is an act of loving courage to trust that his plans for you are for good, always.
To trust that he is good.
After the courage to trust comes the vulnerability to receive from his hand.
That impression I had of drinking from Jesus’ hand, and then remembering Aunty Cynthia’s condition – of literally eating and drinking from the hands of others – challenges a core belief within me about weakness and vulnerability.
Being weak is not strong.
That’s it. Isn’t that what we all believe? I mean it’s kind of the definition of weakness. But Jesus tells us the opposite – being weak is strength.
Jesus instructs us that weakness is not opposite to strength, but a conduit of strength.
He says my strength is perfected in your weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). In the place of your weakness is where I can most display my strength in you.
Being weak is strength.
What a humbling picture – to drink from the hand of another. Everything I’ve built up in my mind about who I am, my dignity, my strength, my accomplishments, gives way when I must bow my head and allow my lips to receive water from a cupped hand that is not my own.
You know, I’m confident that Aunty’s dying as she did was not God’s perfect will. It grieves him far more than we could ever imagine that she suffered as she did. And yet he takes this image of my confident, accomplished, beautiful, radiant Aunt, taking drink from another’s hand, to remind me that he is making all things new.
He reminds me that what we see with our natural eyes is not the truest reality. It only gives us a glimpse into a Kingdom that is both here and not yet – where the weak are made strong, and where even in death – we live.
Everything in us and around us pulls us toward striving to stay strong. And yet Jesus says, you will be made strong when you learn how to stay weak.
How often do we set out to be made weak, to set out in pursuit of weakness?
Our places of weakness are gateways to the power of Christ in our lives.
So, we are here – learning to drink from his hand.
I bow my head, and allow my lips to receive water from a cupped hand that is not my own.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus.