Friday, July 17, 2009

The hand on your shoulder

Today’s Reading: Acts 4:3 (NIV)

3 They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day.

Good morning!

It was torture for our young son Benjamin to sit still and be quiet in church. He was a very busy boy, always on the go in perpetual motion. As his father would begin to preach the Sunday morning sermon, Ben would lean forward and ask me for a back rub. He seemed to calm considerably as long as my hand rested upon his shoulder.

We had just celebrated Benjamin and Jett’s birthdays at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. After dinner, we returned to the parsonage to watch one of Madison’s favorite movies and relax. I was giving Benjamin a shoulder rub, when two-year-old Maddie decided to help. I smiled at her and said, “Madison, this is my boy,” pointing at Benjamin sprawled out on the family room floor. She placed her tiny hands on Ben’s shoulder, shook her head and said, “No Grandma, this is my boy – this is my Daddy boy!” I realized that this time-honored tradition had been successfully passed from mother to son to granddaughter. It is a true generational blessing to know that the hands of your loved ones are always resting upon your shoulder.

Peter and John must have been afraid that night, when they were seized by the Roman guards and thrown into prison. It is hard to sit still under the power of the Holy Spirit as it fills you up with God’s Holy Word. Even in times of supernatural courage and faith, these men knew the physical harm they would suffer for Jesus. Not knowing whether they would live to see another day or die that night, would have been a frightening experience for any one of us. Yet, both of these men experienced God’s holy hand on their shoulder. Jesus was right there with them in the dark night. Because they could feel His nail-scarred hands on their back, their faith remained firm, as courage overshadowed fear.

I don’t know what your day may bring, but I do know that you do not have to face the day alone. Jesus Christ reaches out through the generations, holding us firm with nail-scarred hands. He bled, died and rose again just to free you and me from the things that keep our lives in perpetual commotion. His reassuring hand upon your shoulder is the only strength you need to meet whatever you are facing right now. You can relax, for the hand of the living God is resting upon you.

Father, may we feel your Holy hand upon our shoulders today. Help us know beyond a shadow of a doubt that You are with us always. Never let us go, in Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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