Growing up, my dad was a bit of a superhero in my eyes. I found many of his attributes and characteristics remarkable like his cool, Magnum P.I. mustache and array of cartoon voices he would perform at my request. However, what always astounded me about “Daddio,” as I usually called him, was his over-sized, strong, but kind hands. An automotive technician by trade, his hands weren’t like my hands at all; he could do just about anything with his hands. If my earthly father’s hands are that awesome, what must our heavenly Father’s hands be like? There are a few things I remember about my dad’s hands which reflect the Bible’s description of God’s hands.
Not only could my dad’s hands fix anything, but in the process of repairing whatever action figure I’d broken, my dad would improve it somehow, like the time he put Superman’s arm back on with an industrial bolt from work. Superman became truly super in that moment as it never broke again! Aren’t God’s hands capable of even more indestructible work? In Isaiah 14:27, it’s declared, “For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” God’s plan of salvation for us, a great salvation (Hebrews 2:3), as careless as we tend to be with it, won’t be undone by the roughest of horseplay, as Philippians 1:6 reminds us, “…he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
Though my dad’s hands were strong enough to fix anything or loosen rusted-out bolts on old cars, he could also use his hands to perform such gentle work like baking muffins on Sunday morning before church or helping me build a Back to the Future time machine out of a cardboard box for a school project. Hebrews 10:31 describes our heavenly Father’s hands as a fearful thing and Psalm 118:16 says His hands do valiantly, but as mighty as His hands are, He’s still tender enough to stretch out His hand and heal a leper. (Matthew 8:3) Consider that His hands are strong enough to hold together all of creation, but He regards the skin condition of one man. What kindness those hands so frequently demonstrate!
Finally, from reaching into engine compartments and handling all sorts of grease-covered automotive parts for 10 hours daily, despite the strongest degreasing solutions, my dad’s hands remained dark, stained, and regularly marked with different cuts and abrasions. We’d often joke that his hands could only get clean and heal once a year – after a week long vacation in the ocean water. My dad didn’t seem to mind such battered hands because it enabled him to feed his family. God’s hands, because of His work on the cross for us, are even more stained and marked. In fact, the disciples, especially Thomas, didn’t know Jesus until they saw His hands. (John 20) God actually says in Isaiah 49:16 that we’re engraved on His palms; each time He looks at His hands, the marks from the nails must remind Him of us! How blessed are we to have a Heavenly Father who’d bear such scars to provide so abundantly for His family!
When I look back on my childhood, I realize that my earthly father’s hands sculpted much of my life. From his hands I received food, clothing, and shelter; his hands taught me how to work hard in service of others. For all this provision and guidance, which continued year after year, I trusted my dad’s hands. Looking at what God’s done for us, shouldn’t we be able to trust His hands infinitely more?
The Apostle Paul says we’re our Father’s handiwork. (Ephesians 2:10) We’re made by these loving, strong, and creative hands! May we all rejoice and agree with Jesus when he says, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’” (Luke 23:46)