Hands and feet are curious things. We can do good with them, harm with them, or even nothing at all. Seeing my daughter struggle with the sensations in her appendages has given me a whole new appreciation for the fact that my hands and feet function. They are not overly sensitive and don’t cause me pain. They just serve their purpose.
They can get dirty and that’s okay. I don’t mind putting lotion on them, or someone touching them. They can rub the wrong way on the carpet and I don’t give it a second thought. But my daughter does. Any one of these things can send her writhing for hours in what appears to be pain. She can’t handle it. And she cries.
Seeing her huddled up on the couch this weekend, trying to protect herself from sensation, rattled me to the core. I hated it for her. It pained me, and there was nothing I could do.
If I could, I would impart peace into the parts of her brain that cause her so much anxiety. I would calm her nerves and slow her rapid breathing. In fact, if I could take the pain for her myself, I would. But I can’t. I’m stuck as an observer.
And it’s an amazing parallel to how Christ must feel when He looks at me…
He sees me sqiurming and writhing. Not in physical pain, but emotional distress.
I don’t know what the answers are to my daughters dilemmas…and that bothers me. I draw my hands and feet close and beg for the pain of uncertainty to stop touching me. Maybe if I curl myself tight enough I can just avoid the way powerlessness makes me feel. Because it’s so very uncomfortable. I don’t like it at all.
And He offers me His peace. He longs to slow my breathing and the pace of my rapidly answer searching anxious brain. It pains Him to see me refuse the rest He offers. He wishes I would take it, but no matter how bad He wants it for me, I must choose it for myself.
I don’t know how much of Lauren’s struggle is within her control. Can she choose to breathe, decompress, and relax through her sensations? Maybe…I hope so. But in moments of distress, the choice seems impossible. My best option is teaching her to relax in the good moments so she has skills to use when it gets bad, but she must choose to accept and use this teaching.
Much of our life struggles are completely beyond our control. But can we choose to seek the Lord when times are good so that when it hurts, we know where to find rest.
Because ultimately He is the keeper of our hands and feet. Drawing them close to us in attempts to avoid pain and uncertainty might seem functional, and may even be functional for a moment, but we cannot stay that way. Eventually we have to get down and let our toes rub deeply into the carpets that make us cringe, trusting that even in the pain we will be okay. Because we have sought His presence in the light, we know the dark will not overwhelm us. We can hurt, be uncomfortable, and yet choose to Be Still.
But it takes practice. And it takes knowing. And it takes tolerance. And most of all, it takes choosing to believe that His Word is absolutely, always true.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand;the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121 NIV