Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
– 1 Timothy 2:8
Okay, I confess. I have sweaty palms.
I always had that problem. The condition developed through exertion or nervousness.
When I was interviewing for a job, I had to wipe my hands dry, even apply a little powder (faint amount, no transfer) before I shook hands with anyone. There were subtle ways of drying your hands, so no one would notice. I was embarrassed to have the affliction.
I have met people that had worse problems than I did. From them, I know how other people reacted to my wet hands. With a really clammy handshake, you want to excuse yourself to wash your hands.
I’m not making fun, for I have the problem myself, but it can form a negative first impression.
But since retirement, I don’t get as nervous as I used to, and I don’t get overly exerted, until this past Sunday.
It was the annual blood drive at our church. For about 15 years, I taught a class in the Fellowship Hall. The Blood Drive was always in the Fellowship Hall. I would have to move. People would get lost and not attend that week, thinking I had cancelled in favor of giving blood. It was a mess.
Then, the church expanded, adding a Great Room three times the size of the Fellowship Hall, but since the Blood Drive people were too lazy to reprint their fliers or change the master computer file, they continued to come to the Fellowship Hall. I fought City Hall (the church board) and won, banishing the Blood Drive to the larger room.
Now we go to a new Sunday school class, taught by someone else, in the Fellowship Hall. He was told that his room was changed to 244/245 so that the Blood Drive could move back to the Fellowship Hall. They never changed their flier. So, he sent an e-mail to everyone that had an e-mail account. But he was told incorrectly. Room 245 was the 3rd and 4th graders’ classroom. Room 244 was empty, nothing set up for a class, with only the worst tables and chairs stacked in the corner, the obvious leftovers. So, some thought the room was 224, instead of 244. Half of us went there, but another class was supposed to meet there. Finally, once the teacher arrived, we went to room 244 and the able-bodied men set up tables and chairs while I went back to 224 and the Narthex and all points in-between gathering up stragglers that had no idea where to meet. Note to my cardiologist: I got over thirty minutes of brisk walking that morning.
My wife made the comment that she thought she was one of the Israelites, wandering in the desert. She said that this was her last room change, any more and she’d just go home. Sadly, so much miscommunication for just one Sunday, and the Great Room stayed empty the entire time.
My point in all of this is that I had over exerted myself, and my hands sweated throughout the Sunday school hour.
Our new teacher, new to my wife and I, loves hand holding during the prayers at the beginning and ending of Sunday school, but during the flu epidemic of a month or two ago, no one wanted to hold hands. My wife suggested raising hands. Well, we aren’t that kind of church. One lady loved the hands being raised and thanked my wife for the suggestion. With the flu bug over, the teacher wanted to go back to holding hands, but my wife brought up the Scripture above, giving credit to the other lady. He liked the idea.
Now, we hold hands at the beginning of Sunday school to signify that we are unified as a class, even when we disagree on certain subjects that are discussed.
But now, we hold our hands up at the end of class to show that there are no disputes and no anger between us and we praise Almighty God.
Of those who are equally affected by sweaty palms, have you ever held your hands aloft, palms up, in prayer to God?
If you have, you know that you are not afflicted, you are blessed.
I had not had sweaty palms in quite some time. As I held my hands skyward, palms up, the sweat evaporated from my palms. My palms became a little cooler as I could feel the evaporation.
But what entered my mind was that all my petitions were rising to the Lord, and I could feel it.
Think of it. You are praying. You are talking to Almighty God, and at that moment, you can feel your prayers lift from your body, physically.
We whine about our pains and afflictions, but sometimes, that affliction can lead to a special moment when God reaches beyond your sweaty palms and touches your heart. What a blessing!
For you people who are not blessed, meaning you people with dry palms, you might try rubbing a little alcohol…
Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God Alone.