My Own Two Hands – (Ben Harper)
[Because usually it’s the calm before the storm that we always talk about right?…what about after?]
I remember seeing the light peeking through the hotel drapes, through that long slim crack of the drapes that never quite seem to line up just right in any hotel. And you know how you can tell just by the color of the light what kind of day it is outside? I personally feel like everybody is a light in the world…and everyday when we leave our house we get to show it to people, maybe we show an overcast gray and stormy light or maybe we can have a light like the bluest skies and show love. Your daily light affects the light of others. Well this long thin line of light running down the drapes of my hotel room had a sad grayness to it…the kind that made me want to stay in the bed…and then it hit me. I had remembered something from the night before. The next thing I knew I was throwing my clothes on and running for the parking lot to see if I had done what I thought I had done…I was then running back to my room and checking all the floors to see if I could find a maid cart anywhere…I finally find one on the second floor and I remember waiting for her to go back into the room she was cleaning. When the time was just right I made a dash for her cart and stole as many towels as I could hold in my own two hands and made a run for the stairwell…because I had to fix this…because I knew what would happen if I didn’t…
When I was little and even to this day one of my favorite memories and activities to do when I am with my dad is to wash our cars. Whether it’s my car, his car, my mom’s car, my grandmother’s (when she had one…), it didn’t matter, it was the time we spent together and the things I learned from my dad by taking the right time to detail a car. He taught me how to use my hands to care for things that are important in everything in my life. My grandmother always tells me that my granddad always took good care of his old trucks. That there was something special about people who take care of what the own and appreciate and that you can tell a lot about a person by that. She said that he had taught my dad to always use the hands God gives you to take good care of his own cars and to appreciate everything that God blesses you with because you never know when He can take it away… so my dad has taught me the same. He has taught me my whole life to take care of everything I own just as if it didn’t ever belong to me…and I always appreciated that. I even like to wash my friends cars! And that is why I take the time to do that for other people in my life…it’s because I have learned so much from my dad…It just makes me feel like I am making something new again…kind of like my own life. As we would wash cars and notice a scratch here or a dent there it just reminded me of how nobody in this world no matter what they preach or how they look will ever encounter maintaining a perfect life…it’s just not possible, we will all encounter the scratches, the added miles, the wear and tear, and sometimes the most damaging pieces of our life will show to all the world…but we must always remember to keep faith in God’s promises that he can make all things new again…He will fill in the missing pieces and polish all the cracks and scratches…His love and promises remain true to the end.
The morning I woke up in a panic in a hotel room was years ago down in Jackson, MS. My dad had let me borrow his SUV for the night, the same SUV that I had helped him wash and take care of numerous times. This was actually the first time he had ever let me take it…he had trusted me with it. Well the night before I had been out and when I came back to the hotel I had left his sunroof open…over night…And if there is one thing you need to know about living in Mississippi is that it’s hard to trust the weather. Weather can change and turn on a dime down here in the south and apparently one the strongest and almost tornado producing storms had hit Jackson the night before…and I had slept through it all…but I my “storm” was the day after full of panic. My run slowed to a walk as I got closer to his car because I could just tell it was going to be bad…water had poured into his nearly mint condition SUV all night… Now the right thing to do would have been for me to tell the truth right then and there (and we tell ourselves things like this all the time) but in the moment sometimes we just “panic” and I just couldn’t do it…I didn’t want to…I kept thinking how much it meant to him and how much he had taught me and I couldn’t believe I had messed up like that…I wanted to fix it on my own…just like I have tried to fix everything in my life on my own it never worked out. So after stealing all the towels I could from the hotel and rolling every window down I had attempted to the best of my ability to dry out the entire car and I honestly thought “hey this just may work”…Until my dad got in the SUV back home and he just immediately knew something was wrong. That’s when I knew it was over…I was in trouble…I had to confess. I had let my dad down and it hurt me a lot…and mainly because I had lied to him…but you know what? He was upset and he had a right to be…but my dad has promised me that he will always love me no matter what…he still loved me on that day and has loved me every day since…that’s my dad.
How safe are we in the care of God’s hands? Does he ever let us go from them if we trust in Him? Even in the worst of storms…how can we hold on with our two hands to the love of God’s hands? How can we know His promises are true?
“I can change the world, with my own two hands. Make it a better place, with my own two hands.
Make it a kinder place, with my own two hands. And I can comfort you, with my own two hands, but you got to use, use your own two hands…”
Benjamin Chase “Ben” Harper is a great American singer-songwriter and three-time Grammy Award winner known for his guitar-playing skills, lyrics, vocals, live performances, and activism. One of his first major musical influences was attending a Bob Marley concert in Burbank, California,at just the age of 9. Harper says “I love the concept that nature walks us at one with God. When I stand in front of the General Sherman tree and the sequoias in California, I feel in touch with a greater power. There’s no question that there is a higher power. I just don’t want it to be exclusive to me. I’ve always had a church deep in my heart.” Just this last Wednesday night on trip down to Parchman prison, the inmates were all discussing how God is everywhere and is all knowing and as they asked me to sing a song at the end I decided to perform this song for them and I told tell them how we can all, even myself, start to use our hands every day to help each other, to love each other…because God’s hands are truly everywhere and always full of love.
Genesis 9:13 | I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.
Every time I see a rainbow I think about God’s promises…and how awesome He is. And remember at the very beginning of my story about the light peering through the drapes and how we can all be a light and reflect a light of love to others?? Well that is exactly what a rainbow does! A rainbow is a reflection of light from the sun shining through the drops of rain at just the right moment…it is God showing us His light that is full of His promise of love…He is our calm after the storm.
Sometime in our own lives we wake up to hear of a crisis, we encounter bad things, bad people, and I mean everyone does…Sometimes even God brings us the storms…and it can take us to the edge literally and we think how can anything ever be calm again?…When we go through the storms we must learn to use our own two hands and continue to serve God and love others. We must fight and strengthen our faith every single day even after we fail…get back up…try again…His promises are true even when you can’t see them yet. A good friend of mine, the leader that took us into the prisons in April told me the other day that “it will be like that until our Father returns.” That morning in Jackson, MS, I will always remember. I was trying to hide what I done from my dad…and for along time in my life I had been living a lie trying to hide from God…but the same hands of my father who taught me to take care of everything in this earthly life and the same hands of my heavenly father have both always loved me and always carried me through the storms. Nothing can separate you from God’s hands if you believe in Him. Nothing…
Some of my friends question me a lot and tell me “the good guys never win Adrian…why can’t you just see that”….whether it is in life or relationships…even women have told me that…but every single time I hear that it breaks my heart…and what do I think about? Honestly? I think about my dad. He wins everyday. He’s a good man…he always has been. I hope one day if I ever get to be a father that I am a man like my dad…I don’t ever want to be one of the bad guys again…that’s losing…I tried that out and I became everything I never wanted to be. I was a “walking wasteland on the inside.” Do you know how that feels? Do you know what I mean? Maybe you do…that’s the best way I can describe it…no that’s the truest way I can describe it. And I’m not always going to be good obviously but that’s the type of man I know I want to be. My faith is giving me strength day by day. I certainly know how to fail…but God will always help me prevail…You see we have everything to be thankful for even when we feel like we can’t win…there is something to look forward to after the storms…the calm…and it may take a minute to get there…may take a good long minute…but I like to look to the rainbows in my life and I thank God for each day He gives me. Don’t let the storms stay in your life, gotta show your light, just gotta break it up…God loves you, He will help you, it’s His promise. He’s already got you in His hands so lets use our own two hands that God has given us to help, to share, to teach, and above all else to = LOVE. Nothing is impossible…
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.
(Listen below to My Own Two Hands by Ben Harper)
[SPECIAL THANKS: To all the fathers…have a Happy Fathers day today! Thank you dad for always loving me and showing me how to create positive change with my own two hands. Thank you for teaching me how to win and for being “one of the good guys”…I love you very much…]
(Feature post photo by Stephen Arnold)
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