The Beauty of Broken Praise

Her hands were mangled, crippled in every sense of the word. They were once strong and able to care for her children, cook dinner, and drive a car. But, now, were limited to being able to accomplish a few daily tasks. I remember running in to my grandparents house when we would visit them a few times a year, eager to see my Mawmaw and Pawpaw. Mawmaw would lift up her head to kiss my cheek from her seated posture and raise her crippled hands to hug my neck. Though she couldn’t pick me up, she could hug me with the most loving, affectionate embrace. Her hands showed me an incredible love and tenderness from God, and I loved being able to paint her fingernails for her a soft shade of pink.

She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and the effects of the disease robbed her of many freedoms. My mom and her siblings helped care for her, along with her selfless husband. Yet, in her suffering and her daily confinement to an electric wheelchair, a smile was perpetually on her face and praise on the tip of her tongue. Mawmaw’s ailments did not limit her ability to make much of Jesus, they enabled her to see Him in a new, faithful way that many people never witness. I’ve never seen a woman more beautiful and joy-filled than my Mawmaw. In church, she would raise her bent hands to the Lord and sing hymns with the deepest of convictions.  Her broken body was a testimony of the wholeness to come in eternity with Jesus Christ.

As believers, we shouldn’t be surprised at the trials of suffering that face us each day. Death, disease, famine, loneliness, persecution, financial trouble, prodigal children - all of these things are a byproduct of the sin that stains our world. We have true, lasting hope to cling to when trials come and joy seems distant. Instead of seeing life through the temporal vision that views suffering as a punishment, we need to put on the glasses of the gospel and see suffering as an avenue to know Christ more and to make Him known. In every trial and every season, whether through crippled hands or weary hearts, we can still lift our hands high in praise to our faithful Savior whose own hands were pierced for us. 

Through her suffering and the testimony of her hands of worship, Mawmaw proved to us that joy truly does come in the morning and that Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 is true:

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Is your heart weary today? Does your soul feel broken, shattered from the trials of life? Let us remember His nail pierced hands that bear the marks of suffering so that we might be able to walk in eternal life. No heart, no body, no mind has ever been broken to the degree of being unfixable by the hands of our wounded Savior. His body was broken so that ours would be made whole. This day, do not lose heart at the trials you face. Instead of drooping your head low and folding your hands in defeat, lift them high in praise! Put on the glasses of the gospel and look not at what is right in front of you, but at the eternal glory to come!

You are never too broken for the Lord. When He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us, He pieced together the shattered consequences of our sin. God is in the soul-repairing business. Every trial is an opportunity for Him to do His mighty work. Open your hands in surrender and let Him take what is broken and make it whole. In this He is glorified, and in this you are renewed. Healing is here and wholeness is now. Let us offer Him broken praise, knowing that He will make us whole. 

Lifting my hands high with you,

Gretchen