Living With Open Hands

By Alexa Hess
Staff Writer for The Daily Grace Co.

If we were honest, we would recognize our hesitancy in leaving plans in God’s hands. Often, we pray for God’s will to be done but are instantly frustrated and bitter when things don’t go the way we’ve planned. When we have our hopes set on something that doesn’t come to fruition, our first reaction is to stomp our feet and shake our fists. Nothing defines our lack of trust more than a refusal to leave our lives in God’s hands. Instead of placing things in the hands of God, we remain close-fisted. To live close-fisted is to fight for a life of control. But, even as much as we try, we can’t have complete control over our lives. To open our hands is to release the control we have so firmly tried to grasp. It is an act of surrender.

Open hands are ready to give.
If we look at the pages of Scripture, we find that references of open hands are usually paired with the act of giving. Deuteronomy 15:8 says, “Instead, you are to open your hand to him and freely loan him enough for whatever need he has” (CSB). But while the Bible speaks to our giving with open hands, it also speaks to the generosity of the Lord. We read of God in Psalm 145:16, “You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” Psalm 104:28 says, “when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.” Looking at these verses, we see that the result of God’s generosity is the satisfaction of man. However, many of us fail to see what God gives us as the means for satisfaction. If God gives us something that we didn’t want, we don’t feel like He has satisfied our desires and often think instead that He has robbed us of our desires. However, Scripture speaks that by God’s hands He gives us good things, and for us to be content we must see that the things He gives us are good things. Psalm 84:11 reads, “he does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity.” God is not trying to withhold good things from us; the issue is our failure in recognizing that His gifts to us are good. Trust is fueled in our lives as believers when we take those things we don’t want to let go of and hand them to a faithful God. Instead of grasping to them tightly and declaring, “this is mine,” we humbly release them, knowing that all we have is because of the grace of God.

Open hands are ready to receive.
By releasing control, we leave our hands open to receive the gifts and plans God has for us. A closed fist has not made itself available to receive. Many times, God is trying to give us something for our good, but we refuse it with fists tightly closed. Our lack of trust is revealed when we pray for God’s provision but don’t open our hands to it.

Luke 11:11-13 says, “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?” Our issue in refusing to receive is our inability to trust what God is going to give us. We may pray for God to have His way to then rip away what we have just placed in His hands and try to do things our own way. As our Heavenly Father, God is not going to put something in the hands of His children to hurt or harm us. What we receive may be different from what we ask, but it doesn’t mean it is not a good gift. We display our trust in the Lord when we open our hands to receive all that He chooses to give to us. Our prayer lives are strengthened as we continue to ask for the desires of our hearts while also proclaiming, “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

Open hands are ready to worship.
Close fists reveal a refusal to let go of the things we worship. To grasp tightly to what we’re afraid to give to God reveals the idols of our hearts. Refusing to let go of possessions reveals the idols of materialism. Refusing to accept the changing of our bodies reveals the idols of perfectionism. We must reorder the loves of our heart and restore God in His rightful place by releasing the things that are keeping us from devotion to Him. To live with open hands is to position ourselves for worship. Our utter dependency is made known to the Lord when we open our hands to Him, praising Him for who He is and how He is working. Psalm 63:4 says, “I will bless you as long as I live; at your name, I will lift up my hands.” It is when we put down our idols and lift our hands to God that our worship is restored to the One who is worthy of devotion. As we remain open-handed in worship to God, we will not feel the need to pick up other things. A worshipful heart is a content heart.

Open hands with grieving hearts.
To live open-handedly does not mean to live emotionless. If plans crumble and desires are dashed, we are not meant to feel nothing. The popular phrase, “Let go and let God,” has been used by many to disregard the grievances of those whose hopes have been crushed by unanswered prayers and desires. When prayers aren’t answered and circumstances don’t change, we can still mourn losses while trusting that God’s plans are greater than ours. Those with open hands can still have hope while also declaring to God, “And even if not, you are still good.” John Piper encourages, “Occasionally, weep deeply over the life that you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life that he’s given you.” To trust God with our plans means to accept what He does with our lives, even if it doesn’t go the way we’ve hoped and planned.

To live with open hands is to live in freedom. Let us trust our Father who takes care of His children by our surrendering to Him with open hands.

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