With My Hands Wide Open

I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open. I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open. These words were from a chorus we sang recently in church. Now, I am not a mountain climber, however, I can see myself walking up the mountains in the Bible with my hands wide open.

There is a story in the New Testament in Matthew 17. Jesus and the three disciples (Peter, James, and John) are just coming down from meeting with Moses and Elijah where Jesus had been transfigured before them. When they got to the base of the mountain, a man approaches Jesus and says that his son is being attacked by a demon. The other disciples tried but could not help. Jesus delivered the boy and everything was good. Later, when the disciples were alone with Jesus, they asked why they were not able to do it. This is Jesus’ reply:

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

— Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

From this we are often told to take the mountains of difficulty that are in front of us and speak to them saying, “Move.” I want to suggest another option for us. Many times, the mountains that trouble us are not physical but have to do with Christian living. So, the chorus tells us to “Climb with your hands wide open,” I believe it means with our hands, hearts, minds and spirits open wide to God for the direction and help we need to scale this mountain or perhaps to see it disappear altogether.

Do you long for the PRESENCE OF GOD in your life all day, every day? I do! When I do not sense His presence, it is a mountain I must climb with my hands open wide. He never fails to meet with me, but if I do not have my hands open wide and my mouth filled with praise I do not always sense His presence. I love the times when I need to drive a distance by myself. When I begin to sing and praise and pray, the Spirit of God comes into the car as “Heaven comes down and glory fills my soul.” At those times the ride goes by much faster and I arrive at my destination way too soon. I call that “Practicing the presence of God.” Not practicing just to get better at being open to His presence, rather, making a practice of having the presence of Jesus with me.

Perhaps you are facing a mountain of personal ministry and feeling the lack of POWER to get the job done. PRAISE THE LORD! If you don’t feel insufficient, then you are depending on yourself or your vision of ministry is too small. When you come to God “with your hands open wide” and you let Him know your need you will find all the power you need to do the job He has given you. When we need the power to do what God has asked us to do; just climb that mountain with hands open wide and God will provide all the power you need!

The last thought I had when listening to the chorus was the mountain of PURPOSE. I do not like talking or writing about this mountain because I too struggle with it. When I was about 12 years old, I sensed the Lord calling me into ministry and especially to Liberia. During my teen years I did not walk as close to God as I should have. A tumor was discovered in my upper jaw when I was 14. The next two and one-half years was a constant pressure as to what really was wrong with me. I lost most of my right upper jaw in surgery, half of my pallet, one quarter of my teeth and spent over a year going to the dentist two days a week for at least four hours and many times eight hours at a time.

I was mad at God. I had forgotten about the purpose that God had for me. God did not need me, but if that was true what was my purpose in life? I drifted further away from God. I graduated from high school, but because of what I had been going through, and being attention deficit, my grades were not good enough for college. I went to work full time and even got a weekend job. I was making great money for the day but did not know what I was going to do. This mountain in front of me was huge.

Then came the summer of 1961. Summer church youth camp had been a favorite. I had attended each year since I was eight. But that summer would be my 19th birthday and I would not be allowed to go as an attendee. However, the camp needed a lifeguard for the boating dock and if I wanted to wash pots and pans as well then, I could go at no cost. I could not get off from my weekend job, but I left as soon as I could for camp after a long workday, it was midnight.

I arrived at camp shortly before my first shift of dishwashing and as soon as I was done with dishes it was lifeguard for me until supper, and then more pots and pans. The evening service was starting when I got done with dishes and so I slipped in and promptly fell asleep. I do not remember the sermon but as soon as the altar call was being given I came out of my stupor. God was talking to my heart about getting right with Him. I went forward and surrendered to God. Suddenly, I had a purpose. The call of God on my life had never left. Six weeks later I was in Seattle Bible College. And the rest is, as they say, history.

Now there is a mountain I am climbing and perhaps you are too. We are living in a totally different area. The mountain of purpose in our lives looks different now. We know that our overriding purpose is to share Jesus Christ in every situation, but what is God asking of us? What is our purpose in being out here on the West Coast? We are not as strong as we used to be, I have a difficult time hearing, and often the tasks we want to perform are beyond our physical capabilities. It is frustrating! Can you relate?

I know that the mountain in front of me is one I must climb with “my hands wide open,” and God will be faithful to show us the way! He has a plan that is far better than I could ever imagine. Join me as we climb “with our hands wide open.”

Song is “Nothing I Hold Onto” by Will Reagan & United Pursuit.

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