"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed."
// Hebrews 12:11-13
Have you ever experienced an injury in your body? A broken limb, a bad cut or sprain?
I saw a bartender in Williamsburg serving drinks to people. In between serving each drink, she held her hand really high in the air because she had injured her wrist. It was so painful that she relieved the pressure by lifting her hand. You would think that leaving her hand down by her side, not raising it, would give it more of a rest! But the blood pressure to her injury was so great that the only way for relief was to lift her hand up to the sky.
Such is our relief in worship. Our flesh has so much pressure upon it to satisfy itself, rather than worship Jesus and put Him first. One would think the right response would be to ignore the flesh, and that it is not worthy of attention. To the contrary, we need to respond from our soul and spirit, with physical action.
Lifting my hands in worship can be seen as a 'charismatic' thing to do, but it is a biblical concept and a truly Godly thing to do. When I lift my hands, I'm acknowledging my need for relief from my flesh. We need to lift our hearts and our spirits to Jesus, but the overflow of this expression is a physical response.
When we become cardboard cut-outs in church, responding with nothing but a few thoughts — whether positive or negative — we miss an opportunity to truly glorify God with all that we are. When we respond with worship physically, we relieve the pressure on our frail bodies that are injured from sin and mistakes. Just as that bartender relieved pressure in the unseen parts of her hand and wrist, we also relieve unseen pressure as we lift our hands to Jesus — not as a religious exercise, but as faith-filled worship in response to His grace and healing love towards us.
May we practice this today, lifting our hearts and hands, acknowledging that we need God’s healing, peace, and relief in every part of who we are — including our bodies. Why not find a quiet place, lift your hands in prayer and worship, and let your body find relief in God?
The healing we are looking for starts here.
// Josh Kelsey