it is said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. well, what about hands? seemingly ordinary, our hands play such extraordinary roles in our everyday lives, that I and maybe you, too dear readers, take for granted. Our hands are symbols of hard work, of help, of healing, of hope and more.
Hands are in every facet of our vocabulary. We talk about lending a hand, handing something or someone over, we each have given and have received at one time or another – a hand me down, a hand out, a hand up or a hand off. (well, okay that last one maybe only if you play football do you receive a “hand off”) At school the students receive “hand-outs” and are asked to “hand in” their work, which will be “handed back” at a later date. We say someone “had a hand in it”, (could refer to a good or a bad deed) if they contributed to the outcome of something. I may ask someone to “hand it over” or to “give me a hand”.
We say someone is “hands on” if they are involved and participate personally. Even a clock has “hands”, maybe that’s why we talk about “the hands of time”? Criminals get “handcuffed” and a person will say their “hands are tied” if they feel there is no action they can take in a particular situation.
Hands have a language all their own. (both literally and figuratively) In greeting, we shake hands or high five with our hands or anything in between. We wave hello and goodbye with our hands. To show respect there’s the hand in military salute, the hand placed over the heart in pledge or the hand placed on the Bible (with the other hand raised) in promise to tell the truth.
We say someone is “handy” if they are good at something, particularly at fixing things. We say someone is a “handful” if they are hard to “handle”. We say someone is “hand picked” if they are personally chosen for some particular position or opportunity. And “hand made” is now back in vogue; considered special, unique and more valuable than something that is mass produced or “store-bought”.
We take someone by the hand to lead them, place our hand over their hand to guide or teach them. We extend the hand of friendship, lend a helping hand, raise holy hands to heaven. We join hands in unity with others, we clap hands in applause, showing our approval and support. We raise our hand to ask a question, to be heard. A “show of hands” determines the outcome of a proposal. If something or someone wins by a large margin, we say they won “hands down”.
Hands even have their own language, sign language, or more correctly, ASL, (American Sign Language) which is a language in its own right, with its own rules of syntax and grammar. Here the hands do the talking in beautiful, expressive motions which speak as eloquently as any tongue could, if not more so. And even those of us who don’t know sign language often “talk with our hands.”
Hands reveal a lot about the person they belong to. Strong, hard, rough, calloused hands reveal someone who works hard with their hands day in and day out. Softer hands may point to a softer kind of work. Many hands are adorned with rings and fancy nails, while others remain plain and inconspicuous.
Also interesting are the games we play exclusively with our hands. Think about thumb wrestling, charades, and the classic game of rock, paper, scissors. All hand games. We say someone has a “hot hand” if they are shooting well in a basketball game. (or is that poker where you have a “hot hand”?)
Allstate tells me I am in “good hands” with them. I would like to believe that and be at peace. But I wonder . . . in whose hands do I really want to rest? mine? (taking matters into my own hands) those of some well known leader or celebrity? those of my financial adviser?
God says “It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.” (Isaiah 45:12)
“I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.” “No one can deliver out of My hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 42:6 & 43:13)
If the Creator of the universe says He will hold my hand, I think I will take Him up on that offer. It’s the best one I’ve received. (no offense to you, Allstate) These are the hands I want holding onto mine. Jesus hands, the hands that healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, fed the five thousand; hands that washed the feet of His disciples and then were nailed to the cross, these, these are the hands that I want to hold onto. These are the hands I want holding onto me.
“But he (Thomas) said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, . . . I will not believe it.’ Jesus came and stood among them and said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.’ ” (John 20:25-27)
Thomas saw the nail pierced hands of Jesus and believed. Jesus’ hands told him everything he needed to know. The same hands that formed man from the dust of the ground, that formed the woman from the rib of the man, the hands that made Adam and Eve garments of skin to clothe them when they were naked, these are the very hands that were nailed to the cross in my place and in your place. These are the hands I want holding me.
My Heavenly Father says to me, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)
The song says, “He’s got the whole world in His hands”. John 10:28-30 tells me, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
In my Father’s hands are help, healing, hope and heaven. No better place to be!
sincerely, Grace Day