Captured by Pam

words and images by pam wright

Captured: Open Hands



Hands are really quite extraordinary. They are the instruments of love, work, conflict, peace and worship. They are used to wield a hammer and an axe, to prepare a meal, to caress a loved one, to join with another in marriage, to write and paint and sculpt great works of art, to gesture, to catch a baby as it enters the world, to gather, to minister, to express. Apart from God’s creation that we find in nature, all that we see around us was created by the ingenuity given to us by God and through the toil of human hands. Hands are God’s singular masterpiece of the fleshly body, setting us apart from other creatures on this planet.  Oh, the strength of hands, the usefulness of hands, the tenderness of hands…

…and the humility and beauty of an open hand.

Max Lucado reminds us in his book, He Chose the Nails, of the gift of God’s own hands. The same hands that lovingly formed Adam out of the clay also parted the Red Sea, released the locusts on Egypt, wrote words in the sand, and inscribed the commandments on stone tablets. These are the same hands that, when incarnate on Earth, healed the blind man with just a touch, captured His own tears as he wept for Lazarus, gathered the children to him and ministered to all who encountered him. And, in the final hours of His time on Earth, Jesus willingly opened those very hands to receive the nail as payment for our sin. Imagine. Each mighty hand of God, instead of clenching or becoming a fist in response to the treatment of the Roman soldiers, was instead humbly opened to receive the nail on our behalf. The same hand that formed Adam, received the nail. As Lucado remarked, “As the hands of Jesus opened for the nail, the doors of heaven were opened up for you.”

How do we respond to this overwhelming gesture of love? What do we do with our own hands in return? Do we shake them clinched in anger at God when we do not understand the circumstances of the world we live in or are disappointed in our own circumstances? Or do we, instead, raise open hands to the heavens in worship and gratitude and join with other hands in creating a better world? Do we use them to rebuild areas like Agham Road in the Philippines ravaged by fire (the photo above) and lend support in finding some semblance of normalcy for the conflicted areas of the world, or do we waste them gesturing over grievances and playing video games?

The lesson I take from Jesus’ loving gesture towards me in opening His hand to the nail is to humbly do the same. I wish to walk through this life in a posture of open hands. Hands open in prayer, in tithing, in service and in submission to God’s plan for my life. There is no greater gesture I can offer than to do as He did for me… open my hands for Him.

Hands open to humbly receive…

… hands open to generously give, however feeble my attempts.

reposted and updated from


  1. Thanks so much for sharing that! So true and beautifully put! I so often find that when I’m struggling in life, it’s because my fists are clenched tightly around some dream or expectation or idol. When God’s grace helps me to open them, that’s when I start to realize His goodness at work in my life.

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