Between the Fist and the Open Hand

This is an “in the interest of full disclosure” post.

A couple of years ago I had a pastor who returned to a powerful image over and over in her preaching. She spread her arms, one hand curled in a fist and the other spread wide, fingers like the arms of a starfish on morning sand. She claimed there were two ways to live life. You could live in the fear that resources, care, time, grace and love themselves were scarce. Indeed, as though God Himself were not enough for what life could bring, so the only way to live was to clutch and to hold on. At the other end of the span of her robed arms, the open hand said, simply, God is enough. Even at the end of all the frightened hypotheticals, on the other end of the diagnosis, the other end of the dreaded phone call, beyond even the end of ourselves, there is enough. Enough love, enough grace, and enough of God. In the Cross, in the God-Man given for us, is Enough-ness for all time.

On this blog I celebrate, even advocate, rejoicing in a daily portion. Finding what is on our plate, in the eyes of a sick child in bed, in our checkbook register, in our pantry, in our creativity, and nodding. Saying yes, and thank you.

But I was raised in a home in the clutch of that nameless fear, and many days my life still dances between the fist and the open hand. When I look at myself, I see a very small woman, riddled with self-doubt. A woman who wants so much some kind of control, to grasp and cling. Two small fish and five flat loaves and a crowd that covers the hillside. I am not enough.

But when I look at the Giver instead, not at myself, not even at the gifts themselves. white knuckles relax beneath the skin. Fingers uncurl. The hand opens. There is enough, because He is enough. And like the manna, every day I can choose to receive a feast.


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