The Lord God used such infinite skill in making human hands. Images of hands help us identify with the God Who made us. We picture God forming man in His own image, or spinning the stars into space with His fingers, or hiding Elijah in the cleft of a rock with His own hand.
Charles had a weird accident involving one hand years ago. He was inoculating a cow for brucellosis. The cow jerked and sent the syringe flying. Charles instinctively reached out to catch the syringe and received the cow’s shot in his own hand.
Whether from the syringe contents or its contaminants, Charles’ hand swelled, turned purple and black. His doctor put him on antibiotics but it got no better. He went to an orthopedic surgeon who told him the hand is so delicate and complex, so easily injured beyond repair, he would only do a lancing when all else failed. Three weeks after the accident, Charles’ hand swollen to grim proportions, the surgeon finally lanced the wound and it began to heal.
Our bodies are, according to the psalmist, “fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). But hands are especially “fearful and wonderful.” Think of all the actions of a hand: holding five cups at a time, grasping, clenching, petting, smoothing, tapping, banging, pulling, pushing, fisting, waving, prying, scrubbing, painting, writing, and the list goes on. Brush your hair, grate a carrot, clean a stovetop, knit, sew, twist a lid on or off, all thanks to the wonderful craftsmanship of your hands. Build houses, connect wires, create computers, open a door–yes, your hand at work!
Hands, specifically fingers, are part of our uniqueness. Your fingerprint establishes who you are. No one in the whole world has the very same fingerprint. I discovered in working through some files a small card saved from many years ago. One of my children had made it in Sunday school, camp, or maybe Vacation Bible School. On red card stock a smaller white paper is glued. A child’s thumbprints placed carefully form the shape of a cross. Underneath on the white are the words: “When Jesus was on the cross, I was on His mind.”
Sign language is spoken with hands. The deaf can “read” shapes and signals of hands. A music director uses his hands to give clues to the choir. A guitarist, a violinist, or a harpist uses his fingers in very fine moves as does a surgeon, a dentist, and a jeweler.
An important vote can be taken by show of hands. Praise and adoration of God can be shown by lifting hands and clapping hands. Deals can be finalized with the shaking of hands and friends can meet, greet, and depart using handshakes.
A baby early on discovers his hands. It’s such a cute development in little ones. You see their little hand heading toward their mouth and their eyes curiously focused on this thing that actually belongs to them. One of the early activities for preschoolers is to make handprints and to create wonderful works of finger paint art. They learn to mold shapes out of modeling clay, to balance blocks higher and higher, and to help in the kitchen making cookies and mixing anything. Climbing trees and playground equipment, jumping rope, holding to bicycle handlebars, dong somersaults–using hands, hands, hands!
My great grandchildren made me a hand poster for Christmas on year. I treasure it, a unique reminder of their individuality.
So many positive phrases use the hand as a symbol. “Give a hand up,” “helping hand,” “work of his hands,” “right hand of fellowship,” “many hands make quick work,” “lend a hand,” “hold my hand,” so many “hands on deck,” a hand-size bream, or a horse that is fifteen “hands high.”
I just visited a friend who is 102 years old. She was curled under a bright pretty quilt, only her tiny face showing. Her smile lit her eyes and she thanked me for coming. Then she worked one hand out from under the quilt and gripped mine. We shared a moment of affection before her mind blinked off.
Where am I going with all this handy talking? Nowhere except to say let’s be very thankful for our hands–young supple hands, old gnarled hands, scarred hands, graceful hands, even quivering hands.
Reba McIntyre used to sing a song about her Daddy’s hands, disciplining when needed, but always loving. It reminded me of our Father in heaven Who made the universe, made the very tree to which His Son was nailed to take away our sins, a Father Who disciplines but Who forever loves us.
In heaven, we will recognize Jesus by the nail scars in His hands.