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On the Side: November 2021

Hands and Feet
Sharon Chatwell

Sometimes we hear that Christians are the hands and feet of Jesus here on Earth.  It sounds saintly, but it’s not actually in the Bible anywhere.  I know, because I checked.  I’m not sure where the saying came from originally, and perhaps we don’t need to know.  But we do know this: As Christians we are part of the Body of Christ and it makes sense that putting Christ’s love into everyday practice with the people around us is like being the hands and feet of the Body of Christ.

The other night I was lying in my bed with a terrible backache.  I wanted/needed someone to rub the sore spot right between my shoulders. (You know the spot I mean?) Anyway, there I was, in bed with my dear Doctor Hubby – who was sound asleep – and needing a back rub in the worst way.  I didn’t want to wake him up, so I just prayed, “God, my back hurts.  Can you make it feel better, please? Amen.” All of a sudden, and seemingly without waking up, my husband reaches over and rubs my back, right in the sore spot. And then he fell back asleep. He has no memory of this. At that moment, God moved to help me and He used my husband to be His hands and feet.

God is BIG! And He is “able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20 NASB)

Jesus, of course, used His hands and feet to reach out to others while He was here with us bodily. He touched people that others would not touch and He went places others would not go. He lay His hands on lepers to heal them. He walked through Samaria and talked with the woman at the well. He marched into Jericho and went straight to Zachaeus’ house to have a meal with him, even though he was a “hated tax-collector.” Other people didn’t always understand why Jesus did these things, but He did them anyway. With His hands and feet, He met the needs of others.

Now, God meets the needs of people through His Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit often works through the various members of the Body of Christ; that is, through us as Christians.  We are one of the ways God reaches out to others.  We can use our feet to go places to share the love of God and the Gospel with others, and we can use our hands to help and to heal others in the name of Christ.

When we as doctors’ wives help take care of our husbands and our families, we are acting as the hands and feet of Christ. We are doing the jobs God has given us to do.  We may or may not have other jobs as well, but if we have a husband and a family, our first job is to take care of them. And our husbands’ jobs are to take care of us. Just like God had my husband rub my back, even though he was asleep at the time.

Remember that, when we reach out to help others, sometimes we may become wounded in the process. It is not always easy to give of ourselves to help others in need.  Even when doing the daily chores of taking care of our husbands and families, we may feel stressed or even pained. We can always pray and ask God to give us strength through His Holy Spirit to overcome these problems.

Jesus had hands and feet that were pierced when He went to the cross to help all of us at once. He paid the debt of sin for all sinners at one time, and it cost Him His life’s blood. When Jesus showed His hands and feet to His disciples after His resurrection, there were still scars in them! He still bears the scars of saving us!

Whenever we take upon ourselves the job of reaching out to others in obedience to Christ, we can expect to end up with a few scars.  You can’t spend your whole life taking care of a husband and a family and not end up with some scars.  Some of them may be obvious, and others not so obvious.

You can end up feeling alone or even abandoned at times, especially when your spouse is off at the hospital or clinic for seemingly endless hours at a time. You can feel that you have put off your own career or dreams to help in the pursuit of your husband’s. You can find yourself tied down to a demanding schedule of soccer games and dance rehearsals with little or no parental back-up. All of these things are common in medical marriages.

But let me encourage you. (Older women are supposed to encourage younger women.)  Hang in there!  Do what you know to do.  Don’t give in to self-pity or frustration.  What you are doing is important!  God wouldn’t have put you where you are, unless it was.  He needs you there.  You are His hands and His feet in this situation.  If you don’t do the work that He has set before you, who will do it?

Sometimes there just isn’t anyone else around to rub the other person’s back.

Like I often say, “As doctors’ wives, we are the people, who take care of the people, who take care of everyone else.”  If we help our husbands, who knows how many other people we help at the same time.  God sees and knows and understands what we are up against.  He has put us where we are for a reason.  Let’s rejoice that He has seen fit to set before us such a big and important job.
Ephesians 2:10 (NASB) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.


Sharon is a doctor’s wife living in beautiful Lincoln, Nebraska. She often feels that she has worn her little hands and feet to the bone taking care of her husband and family for many years. She also feels that it has been totally worth it.

About Christian Medical & Dental Associations®

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations® (CMDA) is made up of the Christian Medical Association (CMA) and the Christian Dental Association (CDA). CMDA provides resources, networking opportunities, education and a public voice for Christian healthcare professionals and students.

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