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God’s Hands

Have you ever wondered what God’s hands look like?

I was with my dad the other day and my daughter Zoe grabbed hold of his finger. I was struck by the size difference. Admittedly my dad doesn’t have the most normal sized hands, but seeing Zoe’s little fingers next to my dad’s huge fingers (really really huge fingers) took me straight back to a childhood memory. 

I remember sitting on my dad’s knee at the back of church on Sunday evenings and playing with his hands…I remember them being so big…I used to bend his fingers at the knuckles and trace the creases on his palms. As a gardener by profession his hands were weathered and tough, there was a callous between his thumb and forefinger on his left hand where his shovel and rake constantly moved, he would have scratches and cuts from pruning roses or taking cuttings. No matter how long he soaked his hands for or scrubbed them with a nail brush there was always a bit of ingrained dirt in his fingernails. He didn’t have a wedding ring when I was little because he had never found a big enough one that wouldn’t snap with all the hard work he did. His nails were short and flat, often split from working in the soil, and his skin was a mixture of rough and smooth, worn but still strong. The palms of his hands were sturdy and firm, the backs of his hands were tanned and crinkly. Although his fingers were big and strong he somehow dealt with little fragile seedlings with care and managed to do delicate jobs around the garden too. I spent many hours playing with my dad’s hands and it was lovely to see Zoe exploring his hands too.

The only reason I know what my dad’s hands look and feel like is because I have spent hours looking at them. I held onto them as we went for walks when I was little (less so now!), I baked with him and learned how to do things with my hands because my dad showed me.

Have you ever wondered what God’s hands look like?

They are HUGE (Isaiah 40:12) and powerful (Ps 28:5), gentle (Luke 4:40) and tender (Matt 19:13). God’s hands formed the world we live in (Ps 95:5), in his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind (Job 12:10), his hands hold the lightning and tell it where to strike (Job 36:32), his hand upholds us and stops us from stumbling (Ps 37:24). In his hand is the depth of the earth (Ps 95:4), his hand can be crushing (Job 6:9) and heavy(Lam 3:3) but also fair (Isaiah 34:17) and reassuring (Matt 14:31). When God stretches out his hand he can bring destruction (Zeph 2:13) or healing (Mark 7:32), it can hide (Isaiah 49:2) or expose (Jer 11:18). God’s hands bear the marks of love (Isaiah 49:16) and suffering (John 20:27). God stretches his hand out towards us in pleasure (Ps16:11)and in might (Ps 89:13), to rescue (Ps 144:7), to be known (Isaiah 66:14) and to lead (Heb 8:9).

Do you still wonder what God’s hands look like?

Do you spend hours looking at the works his hands have done, the world his hands have made? Do you spend time resting in his hands? Do you recognise God’s hand in your everyday life? Do you know that on the palm of God the fathers’ ‘hand’ your name is engraved? God the son has nail marks from the crucifixion on his hands, a sign of the huge suffering he endured for the joy set before him of us being drawn back into his hands! 

Are you beginning to see what God’s hands look like?

Whenever you receive love and care, that is the hand of God. When you marvel at the tiny robin bobbing around your garden, that is the hand of God. When you are provided for in unexpected ways, that is the hand of God. When you feel peace in a situation that is difficult and upsetting, that is the hand of God. When you see people’s lives changed and hearts warmed, that is the hand of God. When you are worry free and enjoying life, that is the hand of God. When the weather does amazing things, that is the hand of God.

Could you be the hands of God to someone this week?

Rachel is an Inspire Missioner in England

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