“The human hand – this bundle of bones, flesh, and nerves – think of all it can do. It can bless or curse. It can draw blood or bind a wound. It is gentle, agitated, vicious; supplicating, ardent, tender. It can weld an iron bridge or caress a child’s head. It possesses the power to both harm and heal.” Karl Joseph Friedrich.

Reading this a Bible verse came to mind:

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Ecclesiastes 4:10.

I also thought about a line in a famous hymn:

“Take my hands and let them move, at the impulse of thy love.”

Growing up in a Christian home, I often heard my parents speak about the heroic missionary, Gladys Aylward. I think they had heard her speak and she made quite an impression. But I only knew a little of her story, until recently when kind friends gave us a copy of her biography for Christmas. We were fascinated to learn that, although she was well liked in the missionary training home here in the UK, they did not take her on as a missionary because she struggled with her studies – including getting to grips with learning a most difficult language. But the sense of calling would not leave her, and eventually she went out to China under her own steam. Despite her lack of academic ability, she became fluent in the local dialects, and how those hands were used to serve, to bless, to help and heal in the midst of war, terror and terrible suffering

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. 13 Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” Romans 6:12,13 ‘New Living Translation.’

That was Gladys Aylward’s story. She gave herself “completely” to God – and this included her hands.

It can be our story too. Loving hands are needed not only across the seas, but right here in our neighbourhoods. What might your hand find to do this day?