I took this picture when Amanda was only two days old. We were on our way home from the hospital and I was sitting nervously beside her. I wanted to capture the moment when our two hands were entwined together, knowing that this was a picture that was literally worth a thousand words.
I have always been fascinated with hands (I know, it’s a strange fascination). Growing up I used to love walking with my grandfather hand in hand. His hands were so strong and so protective, that even as a teenager I enjoyed placing my hand in his. Looking back I think “What tasks were his hands used to accomplish in his life time? What difficulties had they sought to resolve? What hurts had they been used to sooth? For what needs had they been lifted up in prayer?”
I look down at my hands and it’s difficult to believe they are the same ones that were used to draw all those funny little pictures that my mother still keeps in her drawers. These were the anxious fingers that scribbled down the answers during countless math exams and that answered the telephone the first time I saw Shady’s name on call display. It was with these hands that I first flipped the pages of scripture, marvelling at the truths that were being revealed to me, and with these hands I have wiped away my tears when God’s answers were not what I had hoped for at the time. These are the hands that placed the ring on Shady’s finger as we declared our wedding vows. And now, years later, it is with these hands that I prepare meals for my family and comb back Amanda’s hair as I kiss her delicious cheeks!
Did you know that the Bible has a lot to say about the hand of the Lord? You may be surprised if you do a study of all the places where this is mentioned in scripture. In fact, we can learn so many wonderful truths about the character of God simply by reading about the work of his hands.
“In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:10
“The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.” Psalm 111:7
“The king’s heart is [like] channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Proverbs 21:1
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will never forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hand.” Isaiah 49:16
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. “ John 10:27-29
What truths do we learn about the Lord from these passages?
- God is the author of life. The breath that I take at this moment is a gift from His hand.
- We can be assured that God is consistently faithful, just and trustworthy (is there anyone on earth for whom the same can be said?)
- God is sovereign over the affairs of this world. The universe is under His ruling hand.
- As believers we are eternally secure within His protective hand. Unlike the love we receive from our family and friends, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
And What About My Hands?
I am compelled to think – to what tasks do I busy my hands? How do the works of my hands bring glory to the Lord? 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 exhorts us to ensure that our lives are devoted to working not for what perishes and fades (though these works do have a temporal purpose, they are not what we should ultimately strive for) but for that which is eternal.
Not only am I challenged to reflect on what I am “building” with my hands, but also the attitude with which I am working and building. As humans our lives are prone to declare “See what wonderful works I have accomplished with my own two hands!” May that never be. May our boasting never be in the work of our hands, but in the God for whom our hands must work.
“Oh for a thousand hands to raise in honour to the King!”