With every ask, their hands are thrust high into the air as they seem to will themselves upward. Sometimes the call is filled with joy and anticipation and other times the call is made in a voice fraught with anger, pain, sadness or weariness about the day’s battle. If you’ve ever had a child standing at your feet, neck craned upward, hands grasping for an invisible ladder, then you know the lifted hands of which I speak.
As I read and reread verse 2, I’m caught up in the imagery of my small children. Reading commentary about lifted hands speaks to having clean hands before God – it speaks to our cleanliness in approaching this holy God. While I appreciate the insight, I’m stuck with an intellectual understanding. Frankly, lifting hands in my culture is loaded with self-consciousness as I try to determine which hand position in my church setting is most appropriate based on the Tim Hawkins guide. But the lifted hands that come with the call for “uppy daddy” emit deep longing and emotion.
Every request for “uppy daddy” is a deep cry for mercy. The request itself assumes that the place they desire to be cannot be attained by their own efforts. The psalmist lifts his hands toward God’s Most Holy place. Now, that can feel odd to us – thinking about lifting our hands to a church building – but God’s Most Holy Place was the place where the fullness of the presence of God was found. The call is not to be in a physical location, but to reach out and touch the very presence of God. And yet, sometimes, to only be in the presence of someone we love leaves us longing for more – more depth, more intimacy.
My kids can be in immediate proximity to me – even touching me! – without needing to go “uppy daddy” and yet they request it regularly. To me, this lifting of hands with a cry for “uppy daddy” has everything to do with maximum intimacy. There is something powerful about facial proximity – about our faces touching – that communicates an intimacy deeper than hugs or hand-holding ever could. There is something powerful about being lifted into a position that I could not otherwise achieve. And as I approach God with lifted hands and a heart that cries “uppy daddy” I might just find that the intimacy I long for is consumed in gratitude.