“And after looking around at them all he said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he did so, and his hand was restored.” Luke 6:10 (ESV)
I regularly feel like I’m failing as a wife, a friend and a disciple of Jesus. There never seems to be enough time or energy to do all the things that need to be done to make me “successful” in those areas. All my attempts to succeed make my life very complicated at times.
Yet Jesus was a master at keeping it simple.
In Luke 6, we come across one of His miracles. Jesus entered the synagogue on a Sabbath and was teaching when He noticed a man whose right hand was withered. He also noticed the Pharisees plotting against Him. He challenged these plotters and decided to perform a “simple” miracle:
“But he knew their thoughts, and he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Come and stand here.’ And he rose and stood there. And Jesus said to them, ‘I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?’ And after looking around at them all he said to him, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ And he did so, and his hand was restored” (Luke 6:8-10, ESV).
“Stretch out your hand.”
Jesus healed the man with just His instruction. He didn’t touch the man or do anything deemed work on the Sabbath. And He didn’t make the man work either, giving the Pharisees nothing to protest.
I doubt the man with the withered hand thought a miracle was going to happen when he attempted to stretch out his hand. Maybe Jesus just wants to see the condition of my hand, evaluate its limitations and assess the problem, he perhaps thought. Surely, Jesus would need to massage my hand and pray boldly and loudly to heal it, so here’s my hand for your inspection. But, oh, the surprise when suddenly he could fully stretch out his hand!
That’s all this man had to do. Just stretch! He didn’t have a lengthy to-do list or a huge cost. Simply stretching was enough to witness God at work.
What would have happened if the man didn’t obey this small instruction? What if he gave Jesus the backstory of why stretching out his hand wouldn’t work? What if he thought he was wasting his time and nothing would change?
I always think I must be more, do more, serve more, give more. More, more, more! I assume Jesus must want so much more from me to work a miracle in my life, when He just needs me to immediately obey the small stretch He’s asking me to do.
In 2016, a friend told me she could see me moving into a more significant ministry role. Umm, no, I thought to myself. Don’t you know I’m unqualified? Later that day, I shared this conversation with a colleague who jokingly said they were hiring for a part-time position. It took me two weeks of wrestling with God, but I applied, citing that I was “applying out of obedience,” because I honestly wasn’t sure. Five months later, I got the job. Two-plus years later, I’m still serving in this role — and I’ve been entrusted with even more responsibilities!
My small stretch was that application. Jesus took care of the big miracle. Won’t you let Him do the same for you?
Father God, help me obey the small requests. Help me to trust You without wavering, believing that You are eagerly waiting to perform a miracle in my life. Let me not get distracted by my own fears, expectations or assumptions. I know You are working with me, right where I am. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Written by: Shala W. Graham