Looking at my hands, I ponder all the times I have held a pen or pecked away at a keyboard to write sermons, articles, and speeches. I think how these hands gently lowered new Christians into baptismal waters. These hands have held the hands of others who were traversing loss and grief. They have been used to softly cradle my youngest granddaughter born prematurely and weighing just a pound and a half. These hands, folded in prayer, beseeched God’s loving care as she fought for her life in those first critical weeks. At age 15 now, she is a brilliant artist and uses her own hands in creativity and imagination.
I am reminded that Isaiah 49:16 reads: “I have not forgotten you. I have carved you on the palms of my hands.” The apostle Mark recounts: “And He took the children in His arms and put His hands on them and blessed them” (10:12).
I am reminded of the “hear no evil; speak no evil; see no evil” monkey figurines that used to be so popular. The hands cover the
ears to keep from hearing gossip and foul words, hands cover the mouth to keep from speaking unkind words, and hands cover the eyes to prevent temptation. So much is communicated just by moving one’s hands.
Think about it: an open hand or a closed fist; a raised hand that says “stay away” or a hand waving to invite another closer; the offering of one’s hand to help; a handshake to seal a deal; a hand
extended in fellowship and greeting—all communicate much by the hand.
Scripture bears witness to the importance of hands. There are more than 1,700 references to hands in the Old Testament alone. In the New Testament, it is the laying on of hands that is associated with the coming of the Holy Spirit and setting apart for service. Hands in the Old Testament can be used to emphasize the care
and concern of God, the strength of God, and the protection of God, and at least in one notable passage, the promise of God to remember us in our struggles.
God’s hands offer real care
The psalmist promised, “Though he stumbles, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand” (Ps 37:24). With God’s own hand, we are supported and comforted. Have you seen families in a time of crisis take one another’s hand as a way of saying: “Don’t worry, I am here. I want to help. Don’t be afraid.” This calls to mind images of God’s care in real ways familiar to us all.
God’s hands offer real protection
When you see a toddler heading down a dangerous road and a parent or caregiver reaches down and takes that tiny hand into their own, you know immediately that someone stronger and wiser is protecting them. This, too, is identified in scripture as associated with Gods hands. “I the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand and I will keep you
(Ps 31:5). We are assured that God’s protection is real.
God’s hands offer real hope
Think about the Isaiah verse again. “I have not forgotten you. I have carved—“engraved”—you on the palms of my hands.” You know if you have something on your hands, it is difficult to forget. Ever need to write something important down and you don’t have a piece of paper? You wouldn’t be the first person to walk around with a phone number written on your palm. In the context of this verse, God is promising Israel that even during their captivity and exile, God will not forget them. There is hope. Even when Israel
was afraid that God had forgotten, God speaks as if to say, “No, I haven’t forgotten you. See, I have your name written on my hand.” God remembers you. God’s knowledge of each of us offers real
Lives are changed in God’s hands
Jeremy was a young boy addicted to drugs when he came into care. At Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH), Jeremy found a place of refuge away from drugs, away from fear, and away from abuse. While here, Jeremy asked Jesus into his heart. Today, he uses the strength found from his salvation to change his life’s path.
Tessa came to live at BCH after her Mom died. Here she found a safe place to grieve. Loving cottage parents wiped her tears, held her hand, and offered comfort.
Children’s pain, loneliness and hurt are real. Their needs are real, too. We are able to facilitate healing and hope because you put resources in our hands and together we become God’s hands
in action, changing lives. Thank you for showing loving hands, assuring those who come to BCH that God cares, protects, and gives hope.
Written by Michael C. Blackwell, Preside/CEO (Chief Encouragement Officer)