By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell
Isaiah 41:13; Isaiah 48:13; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 18:35
“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’” (Isaiah 41:13, NIV, Life Application Bible)
We have beautiful stained glass windows at Elpis Christian Church: Two of the windows I look at frequently are the ones behind the altar. The one I face on the left side depicts Jesus holding a lamb in his right arm and a shepherd’s crook in his left hand. The window on the right depicts Jesus with an open posture, his arms extended, and his palms facing up as he invites us to come to him. I love these images and reflect on them when I’m in church.
In recent months, scriptures of God extending his right hand or taking a believer’s right hand have stood out to me. In the psalms, David writes to God of “eternal pleasures at your right hand” and that “your right hand sustains me” (Ps. 16:11; Ps. 18:35, NIV, Life Application Bible). I have a hard time imagining God the Father’s hands or the Holy Spirit having hands, but I clearly see Jesus having hands, since he was both human and divine. The thought of Jesus taking my right hand or offering his own feels personal, intimate, and loving.
I think of Jesus depicted in that stained glass window where he holds the lamb in his right arm and think of myself as that lamb in his arms. I imagine that Jesus takes my right hand in his right hand and turns me around and close to his body to hold me in his lap, enfolding me with his right arm in a loving embrace, his hand over my hand. I love that thought. I find it comforting.
Jesus wants to embrace us in his loving arms. He extends both arms and holds us close with the very right hand that spread out the heavens at creation. He created the universe and he created us—and, he called it “good.” He is a personal, loving, caring shepherd. As the Good Shepherd, in an act of love and ultimate sacrifice, he lay down his life for his sheep—for you and for me.
So, since Jesus gave his life for me, it’s not so hard to imagine him holding me like that lamb in his arms in the stained glass or in a loving embrace with me on his lap with his right hand over mine. How wonderful to know that the creator of the universe loves me—loves me enough to spread the heavens with his right hand and to take me with that same hand in a loving embrace. He chooses to love me! He chooses to love you, too!