By Ryne Brewer
The hands of a laborer might be some of the strongest hands around. Those who work with their hands regularly use the muscles in their hands so often that it creates the kind of strength that can hammer a nail, shovel dirt, and carry heavy cement bags. I’d wager to say the hands of a laborer have held some of the heaviest things in life—some mundane and some precious.
As a follower of Jesus, I often find myself carrying the metaphorical “heaviest things in life.” But I’m missing the strength to carry them. Can you relate? The weight of precious decisions about the future, the hurts of a past relationship, the loss of a loved one, or the strains of everyday life. My hands grip these things tightly but continually lose grip or carry the long beam of stress, only to endure terrible splinters in the palms of my hands over and over again.
While reading this prayer of Jesus in John 17, I’m moved to ask the question: “Whose hands are stronger?” The Jesus we encounter in this prayer isn’t disengaged from our world. He’s not numb to the job at hand. He’s also not waiting for His friends to pray to Him. He’s proactively praying for them.
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they are yours.” —John 17:9
Why does Jesus pray like this? Jesus knows whose hands are strong enough to hold the weight of the world. He says, “I pray for them….those you have given me, because they are yours.” Here is an unshakeable truth for our weary, world-torn hearts this Lent; God has given our lives into the strong hands of Jesus. In His hands, He holds the pains of our past. His words to God on our behalf are exactly what is anchoring our faith in Him.
When we approach this world in the strong hands of Jesus, we are in the most purposeful and secure place to be. It’s not always without risk, but it doesn’t need to be. As Jesus prayed for God to protect His followers, Jesus knew that He was about to be betrayed, isolated, and arrested. Jesus faced the very things He prayed to God that his disciples would never experience with Him. This is our security; we can take Jesus at His word (John 17:11).
And when we settle ourselves into the hands of Jesus, we can believe He is strong enough to hold our every need, satisfy our every longing, protect us from stumbling, and make us stand in His presence without blemish and with great joy! (Jude 1:24)
We can believe He is strong enough to hold our every need, satisfy our every longing, protect us from stumbling and make us stand in His presence without blemish and with great joy (Jude 1:24)!