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Withered Hand

Mike Connell

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When the Bible's referring to your hand, it's talking about your capacity to work, your capacity to labour, so when it says that his right hand was withered, and it had all turned inward, what it's telling us is: his life had been deeply impacted by something that had happened to him. He was not like he ought to be. His potential was diminished, and there was a whole part of his life that would not operate. So today it's a picture for us of people unable to function in the gift and calling that God has given you to function in. God has given every person, every believer, a ministry calling. He's given you a calling to do something, accomplish something with your life. He doesn't want our life to be without purpose. A life without purpose is a withered life. It's a life that's not functioning properly.

God wants you to have a vibrant purpose. He wants you connected to Him, understand your purpose, and fully engage with Him; and if for some reason that you have been injured in life, hurt in life or disconnected from God, it's inevitable your life will not demonstrate all it could. Your life will be like this man with the withered hand, and so this man's hand was withered up. Undoubtedly it was not just a physical thing in his life. It was also an emotional thing. There was tremendous shame. He'd have had tremendous shame about it, because imagine going in some place, you know, and there you are and your hand - you've got to hide the thing.

I've seen people with withered hands, and they inevitably try and hide the disfigurement in their body; and so shame will cause us to draw back from people, draw back from engaging, draw back and not function like we ought to function. He's in church, he's in the house of God. This is a place to be lifting your hands and worshipping God. This is a place to be empowered to serve God. Instead he's in shame, and he's hiding, and his hand is withdrawn; and he cannot function like he should.

I wonder what is withering you. I wonder what has happened in your life, that has stopped you fulfilling God's purpose for your life; what's stopped you from doing all that you could be doing for God, what's caused you to become passive, shrunken, withdrawn; and no longer doing - or not doing what God has called you to do? It could be fear. Perhaps fear has come into your life, fear of failure because of difficulties that you've had? It could be shame, because of things that have happened in your life. It could be patterns of sin that have got around your life, and so your life is not what all of it could be. It's actually shut down.

It could be that you have some kinds of issues in your background that you have given into, or had happen to you, and so your life has been affected. Trauma can affect people. I read in the paper, on more than one occasion, where a person's been held up or armed robbery in a shop, and then when you follow up the person later on, you find they can't hold the job any longer. The trauma has literally shocked their soul, and withered their soul, and they're not functioning properly.

Sometimes when people are growing up, they live under critical judgemental words, and that withers the soul, causes you to end up with these lies in your mind: I'm not good enough. You can't do what you could do. You can't fulfil your potential, because there's a withering of your hand. There's a withering inside your mind, a withering inside your soul, that affects what you do with your life. Listen, the Bible says: as you think in your heart or believe in your heart, that's how you'll be. So if you have conflicts that are unresolved, grief, you have disappointments, you have bitterness, you have offences, you have unresolved sin, you have abuse or trauma in your life; these things can wither your mind, and your thinking, and your attitude, to the point where you don't function like you could - and that's this man.