“Hands Up” – Meditation


In wartime, one of the most effective forms of surrender is forcing the enemy to raise empty hands above their heads. Why? Our hands hold our personal influence.


We shape instruments of war (such as swords, guns, cannons) and instruments of progress (such as machines, farming tools and technology) to be used by our hands. We create instruments of music to express ourselves creatively with our hands. We write motivating thoughts with the hand that holds the pen. We use hands to gesture peace or hostility, prayerful love or blatant disrespect. Hands may well be one of the most powerful parts of our bodies. With the actions of our hands, we have the opportunity to figuratively grab hold of our life’s initiatives or let go to God’s plans.


It is proper then that many Bible verses express and encourage the lifting of hands as a symbol of praise, rededication and supplication towards God. In Psalm 134:2 (ESV), we read: “Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!” Also, in 1 Kings 8, King Solomon of Israel placed his magnificent Temple in Jerusalem, and his nation’s purposes, in God’s will, as seen in verse 54 (ESV): “Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and plea to the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven.”


In raising our hands towards God, we symbolically are saying, “Lord, You are in control. I surrender myself and my worship to You and I will not hold Your plans back with my heart or my hands.” In this respect, our role model is in Jesus: the ultimate example of surrendering to God.  


In His earthly ministry, Jesus used His hands to heal the sick, the injured and even the dead. Yet, when His hands were nailed to a cross, they were seemingly helpless to heal the corrupt course of history. However, in that posture of surrender to God’s salvation plan, the prophet Isaiah’s words were fulfilled, “But [Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5 ESV). God turned Jesus’ surrender into victory. His pierced, outstretched hands became an eternal reminder that death could not subdue the power of Jesus’ surrender and ultimate resurrection (Luke 24). What is our response to this invitation? Are we willing to raise our hands high and say, “I surrender, God. I hold nothing back from you.”

-Josiah Milnes (shared at the Bethesda Board Meeting)