The Hand Of God
I like to watch people’s hands. Some are graceful, some are not, some are small and delicate, and some are thick and strong. My own hands move and look like my mother’s hands; I am often reminded of her just by watching my hands as I do a task. The hands of the Indonesian people I see are generally work-worn. Even the young girls’ hands already show signs of a lifestyle of manual labor; their hands age faster than their faces. But their hands are wonderful to watch as they weave baskets, sliver garlic cloves with their fingers against the edge of a butcher knife, plant and harvest rice, or any number of everyday tasks.
“There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you.” Duet 12:7
This verse is actually from the context of Moses instructing the people of Israel how and where they will worship the Lord once they enter the Promised Land. But we, too, have felt the presence of the Lord throughout this year; we rejoice in what God has given our hands to do, and we are constantly aware of His blessings. My husband Tim’s hands have been busy at the yoke of his airplane. He has flown 39 medical evacuations and 282 church and global work related flights as well as ferried nearly 300,000 pounds of supplies. My hands have stayed busy teaching English, writing, crafting, homemaking, and any other opportunities God brings across my path. Our blessings from God’s hand have included, safety and health and strength to do our work, the continued prayers and financial backing of our faithful partners, a wonderful three-month home leave, and the privilege of sharing His Love and Light to the people around us in countless big and small ways.
“My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.” Isaiah 48:13
My favorite hands to watch are God’s hands. They are the biggest and strongest, firm and yet the most gentle and caring hands the universe can know. God’s spirit moved over ‘the deep’ and His hands created, bringing into existence, arranging, and ordering everything about our world. The most prized work of His hands was mankind, whom He made in His image. And ever since He created, His hands have been faithfully involved with His creation. His hand wrote laws on stone tablets and judgment on a wall, rested on His prophets, and was against Israel’s enemies. His hands have guided, covered, and upheld His faithful through the ages. For the first Christmas, a star shone, angels sang, and God incarnate became a helpless human newborn. His hands waved erratically above a manger, reached for the sparkle of a golden gift brought by an eastern visitor, and were caressed by a loving mother. As Jesus grew, God’s hands played and learned to skillfully handle carpenter’s tools. Then they started to teach and feed the multitudes, heal the sick, and bless the children. His hands pulled a disciple out of the sea when the waves made his faith waver; raised loved ones from the dead, and, countless times, clasped together in prayer. Eventually His hands broke a loaf of bread and passed a cup of wine. Then God’s hands were splintered by a rough crossbeam and gashed through by cruel, steely spikes. His fleshly hands became lifeless. Later, His resurrected and scared hands cooked fish on a beach and restored the faith of a follower.
“Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.” Psalms 98:1
“For you make me glad by your deeds, O LORD; I sing for joy at the works of your hands.” Ps 92:4
God’s hands are still at work in His creation: guiding, intervening for protecting, disciplining, and blessing His followers, and drawing those who do not yet recognize His hands. This holiday season, as your hands are busy with the decorations and details, cause your mind to reflect on how the Lord’s hands have worked in your life and the lives of your loved ones this year, and give thanks! Have a blessed Christmas!
This article is a classic originally published in our early print magazines.