Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Empty Hands

Naked. Not a stitch of clothing to call their own. Stripped of everything from their former life. Nothing saved. Their orphan clothes removed and given to another child to wear.

The newly adopted walk out of their orphanages and institutes with all new clothing, right down to their underwear. Empty handed. All ties to their former life are completely severed.  They come out with nothing. All of the work, all of the bills, all of the papers signed and sealed-- all are done by others. They are powerless to make any contribution to their own rescues. They are utterly dependent upon the loving family that has crossed oceans and mountains to get them.

Then, in an unspoken but time-honored ritual, they are stripped once again as soon as they arrive at their new lodgings. Washed and cleansed by loving hands. Their new parents scrub every single square inch of their little bodies. They scan them, noting every scar, every mark. Tracing their lines, wondering about their untold stories. Grieving over lost time and opportunities, yet rejoicing over future prospects.

Next, their new parents lift them out of the water and wrap them gently in towels. Re-dressed, once again. Hair combed (if they have any). Teeth brushed. Fresh. New. This symbolic cleansing announces their arrival in their new family: They are orphans no more!

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.

Like those orphans, we too arrive with nothing. Without a stitch of righteousness that can gain us access to the throne. Completely helpless, apart from a loving God who crossed the great divide caused by our sin and filth. Orphans in a world of chaos. Empty handed we kneel. Completely and totally dependent. Filthy. Dirty.

Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Saved only by God's grace. Naked. Stripped. Totally dependent upon Jesus Christ to pay the debt of our sin and seal our papers with His mark.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.

Then, in a time-honored ritual, we are washed. Cleansed. Lovingly scrubbed clean of our filth and stains. Our scars and marks already known by the Creator of the Universe. Grief and joy mingle as He brings us out of the water into a New Life. Orphans no more. Children of the King. Redeemed. Cleansed. Forgiven. Protected and safe in the Father's arms.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee.


  1. That's right. The Christian gets a new life in Christ and the old life is gone. The orphan gets a new life with a family. I hope the rest of the orphans on RR get homes very soon.

  2. Wow. Fantastic post- I got chills reading it.

  3. This is absolutely beautiful, and so powerful. Thank you for seeing this analogy, and for describing it so well. We still laugh about the brown water flowing down the drain in our son's first shower with a father's oversight! It is so true--orphans no longer.

  4. This is beautiful, and so true!

  5. When we were are pray and worship last night...the prophetic word given to us was "hide yourself in me". Your post is so timely and powerful. Hugs

  6. Very beautifuly written. Thank you!

    Brooke Annessa

  7. Thank you so much for your post! It was an encouragement to me and such a good reminder of all that Christ has done for me in redeeming me!
    ~ Juliana Keulen


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