In God's hands

Originally printed as an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

Take a moment sometime and look at the hands of someone you love. Really look at them. Look at your father's hands. Or your sister's. Or your wife's. Or a best friend's.

You'll see so much more than you might have expected. Hands tell wonderful stories. You'll see hands that picked you up when you tumbled off your first bicycle. That helped you tie your shoes. That baked cookies and picked flowers to put in your room. That caressed your forehead when you were ill. That pitched you a baseball and peeled an orange just right. That pointed out the evening star, and a butterfly's cocoon, and a flock of geese high overhead in the blue sky. That held your own hand when you walked along a beach on a summer's afternoon.

Not long ago I heard Livingston Taylor in concert. He closed the performance with a version of "Grandma's Hands" by Bill Withers (song written by: Bill Withers. Publisher: Interior Music). Part of it sings:

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Grandma's hands

Clapped in church on Sunday morning....

And Grandma's hands

Picked me up each time I fell....

But I don't have Grandma anymore

And if I get to heaven

I'll look for

Grandma's hands.

When I heard that song, I thought of all the hands that have been kind to me, helped me, guided me. I was grateful. Then I thought of God's hands. And I was more grateful. I realized that we're never without God's lovingkindness, His ever-present help, His constant divine guidance. We will never have to feel that we don't have God anymore, because He is our forever Father-Mother, the eternal Life and Love that creates us, maintains us, and sustains us - always.

The Bible shares many beautiful images of God's hands caring for us. The Psalmist wrote: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? ...If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (Ps. 139:7, 9, 10). And in Isaiah, we read: "I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.... I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee" (41:10, 13).

Of course God, who is infinite, omnipresent Spirit, doesn't have physical hands, which would be limited in function, scope, or utility. God is completely unlimited, unconfined. He is omnipotent. His "hands" are a metaphor for His power - always available, always strong and tender, always capable of lifting any burden and healing us. The ministry of Christ Jesus demonstrated this so compassionately. There was such strong love in Jesus' healing work.

"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, discusses Jesus' promise that spiritual healing would be available to all his followers, that "... they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark 16:18). It says: "Here the word hands is used metaphorically, as in the text, 'The right hand of the Lord is exalted.' It expresses spiritual power; otherwise the healing could not have been done spiritually" (pg. 38).

When we pray and practice Christian healing, when we share God's love and redeeming grace with others, we too are expressing spiritual power. We're reflecting God. We're trusting Him. And that's entirely natural to His children.

It is a good thing to place our lives in God's hands (His power). He has made us in His likeness, so we can never flee from His presence or fall from His care. In our lives from day to day, He will hold us close, hold us up, bless us, heal us, show us the way. We are safe and whole - in God's hands.

Keep me as the apple

of the eye, hide me under

the shadow of thy wings,

from the wicked that oppress

me, from my deadly enemies,

who compass me about.

Psalms 17:8, 9

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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