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Topic: Heroes (03/08/04)
TITLE: Heritage of Heroes
By Jan Grupido
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I knew I could craft his voice. I knew I could bring the reader to hear the stones’ dull thud against yielding, ripping flesh. I would sound cracking bones, splintering like green wood, with my words. The taunts and jeers of hate filled executioners, along with the heat, and the acrid smell of the blood soaked dirt of the stoning ground, would come alive, as I committed words to paper. Minds would come to see his body as it struggled, moving toward the oncoming rocks, seeking out the final blow to end the present and transport him to the Savior, who stood to welcome him. But, the Holy Spirit shouted, “No! You will not! I will give you another to use. Do you know what he endured? Can you speak his pain? You presume too much!” So I prayed, asked for forgiveness, and waited.
I waited. Then I saw the form of a hand. Perhaps I was recalling scripture, imagining Stephen’s hand reaching up to take the hand of the Saviour? Then the Holy Spirit showed me it could be any hand that had served widows and cleared tables, in His name. I saw one hand, and then another, as a chain of hands formed. I saw weak, small hands and strong, uncomely ones. Some wore the wrinkles of earned time and yet another could grasp only one finger in its’ small palm. I looked closer and recognized a hand in the chain. It was my mother’s hand. It seemed younger, smoother. But, it was her hand held by another’s hands. I heard her crying and saw her hand wet from her own tears. Her father had just died of cancer. Mother was only 16 years old. The hands clung to one another, entwined, moving in silent affirmation, while prayers were offered up, begging His peace and the touch of His hand on my mother’s hurting heart. My view moved along the chain and I saw my mother’s hands, now older, holding her brother Kenneth’s hands as she led him to the Savior. My anticipation grew and I was anxious to see whose hands I would see next. I recognized the hands of my Uncle Kenneth. His hands were holding my own father’s hands as he led my father down the Romans Road to the foot of the cross.
Then the chain seemed to break. My father’s hands dropped away. I couldn’t see them anymore! He had let go of the Savior’s hand as he ran toward alcohol and sin! But, in the hands of the Savior, even that sin came to work for good. I saw my hands move to take hold and mend the breach as they grasped the hand of the evangelist that led me to Christ at the age of twelve. I vividly remember sitting in church listening to him preach, wringing my hands. He mimicked a “lost drunk” as he “staggered” and “stumbled” across the church platform. The “drunk” couldn’t hold onto the Bible and dropped it onto the platform floor. He “fell” to the floor, pounding it in anger, demanding help. Someone had to help him stand! But, he never reached up to the outstretched hand of the Saviour. I knew then how lost I was. I saw my hands stretched out before me as I ran down the church aisle, grabbed the hand of that evangelist, and asked Jesus to save my lost soul.
My hands changed as I looked further along the chain. They became as they were when I was a young wife and mother. My husband’s hand was holding mine as we lead our little five year old daughter, by the hand, to Sunday School. That day she would raise her own hand in response to her teacher’s invitation to ask Jesus into her heart. I can’t remember the teacher’s name, but I see her hand clearly holding its place in the chain, holding my daughter’s little hand. I remember that in the church service that same morning my husband’s hand placed a gift in the mission offetory plate. In the chain his other hand gently holds the hand of a small Korean child, who clings to the precious New Testament that offering provided. He used them all! They were His yielded servants, leading others, lifting them up, helping them to stand before the throne of grace. These hands, committed and faithful, belong to the heroes in the lineage of my heritage of faith, for whom I give thanks to my Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, upon every remembrance of you!