I would challenge you to do the same: listen for the first or second time, and let the words sit. Find the sermon here. Click Jason Upton 4/3/16.
God wants us- He hears our cry- He doesn't disapprove of us- He doesn't approve of us- (we haven't earned it or un-earned it. We don't deserve it- we aren't undeserving).
HE LOVES US.
God doesn't shout from the sky, "HEY! I'M GOD!! SHAPE IT UP DOWN THERE!!"
Instead? To transform us He wants to be.with.us.
One of my favorite images in the last few years has been an 'open hand'. For whatever reason, the Lord has kept repeating the image in my life, through songs and sermons and books. The open hand to receive what He gives- not a clenched fist which rejects.
I've never paired that image with the story of man with the withered hand in Matthew 12. The Pharisees wanted to tell Jesus what 'right' and 'wrong' to do, like healing the man on the Sabbath. But Jesus...
"Then he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other.
I am amazed that an act as simple as stretch out my hand can require so much faith. Opening my hand and receiving what God gives: what feels good & what feels bad. That God is good and I am loved and I can trust him. I can live my life with my hands open, stretched out to him. I can nod my head, yes. Yes, Lord.
Hear today that God.loves.you. Stretch our your hand and receive it.