Our Father’s Hands
by Cindy Hoffmann
“Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and side.” –John20:19b-20a
Have you ever given thought to the hands of God? Have you ever taken time to ponder if our Heavenly Father’s hands are fashioned like ours? We know that His hand is strong and protective because we read this in scripture. How many times have we encouraged a friend, family member, or even a stranger with these words, “You are in good hands, because you are in God’s hands”? In scripture we read that God is sovereign and so we declare that God has the “whole world in His hands.” However, we also know from scripture that God Almighty is spirit and He doesn’t have a body like ours. Yet because scripture refers to His hand, His arm, and His heart, this gives our heart and mind some room for imagination about our Heavenly Father. It gives permission to let the mind imagine.
When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with my dad’s hands. He did cattle farming and “hay growing” as a livelihood, but also as a hobby for many years prior to retiring. He had very small, thick hands with fingernails that were worn. His hands were always very sore from the work he did. My dad could milk cows, resurrect tractors, fix a barbed wire fence, and give wonderful hugs with those small hands. What amazed me most was that on his left hand he was missing his 4th & 5th fingers to an accident many years prior. I enjoyed him wiggling those little stubs. If anyone would watch my dad work, one would never know he was missing his two fingers by the amount of work he could accomplish. His hands were a sign to me of hard work, perseverance, and love.
How do we know what God, our Heavenly Father’s hands are like? Over 2000 years ago, out of His deep and tremendous love for each of us, God left His throne of heaven, put on pigmented human skin, and came down to earth. He moved into our neighborhood so He could redeem us with His powerful hands. Finally, we could see and understand God’s hands. Jesus showed us the very nature of God and the incredible power of His hands. We read in scripture that Jesus touched the eyes of the blind man with His hands, and eyes were opened; He laid His hands on the sick and they were healed; He blessed the children with His hands, and I am certain that He gave many, many hugs.
The greatest act of love and sacrifice (and the most amazing to my heart) is shown when Jesus stretched out His arms and His very powerful, healing hands so they could be nailed to a very rugged cross for you and me. The agony of this act of love is often more than I want to imagine. “For God so loved us that He gave His one and only Son.” Jesus did this willingly for us. Jesus’ hands are a sign to me of sacrificial, eternal love. As I ponder this, I try to imagine what it will be like to one day see Jesus face to face (my Lord and my God) and then to notice His scarred, nail-pierced hands. When we reach heaven, we will be made completely whole with new bodies. My earthly dad’s hands will be perfect and he will have all five fingers on his left hand. But Jesus will be the only one in Heaven with scars.
As we live each day as followers of Christ, may the following verse soften and change each of our hearts so we are filled with thankfulness and deep gratitude for God’s hand that protects, redeems, and saves us: “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Heavenly Father, You are so incredibly mighty, amazing, sovereign; more than our mind can even begin to understand. Thank You for sending Jesus, to be like us in human form, to reveal Your character to us, to save us, and to give us the Holy Spirit, who gives us faith to trust that when we can’t see Your hand, we can trust Your heart. Amen.