Jun 16 2013

Finding Comfort in a Picture and a Song

Dad and II posted the picture you see here of my Dad and I on Facebook earlier today. I saw countless others were posting pictures of their fathers in honor of Father’s Day and thought I’d do the same. The actual picture from which this one was taken showed more than this but it was in very poor shape so I used my macro lens and created this cropped version. The tighter crop has caused me to look at the picture differently.  The thing that jumped out at me most in the new image is how big my Dad’s hands look.  They almost seem to wrap around me.  I certainly know I’m not “the whole world” but for some reason when I looked at this picture I thought of the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”  This song, a traditional American spiritual, was first published in 1927.  I remember singing it as a kid.

The song apparently has a couple of versions, one short, the other long.  Both share the same basic message–God has everything in His hands.  The verse I liked best growing up is “He’s got the little bitty baby in His hands.  He’s got the little bitty baby in His hands.  He’s got the whole world in His hands.”  I couldn’t remember exactly how the other verses went so I looked them up.  When I did I found it interesting that both the short and long versions included aspects of nature in them.  The short version repeats the words “He’s got the wind and the rain in His hands.”  It goes on to include “the little bitty baby,” “you and me, brother” and “everybody here” as also being in God’s hands.

Pinnacle Overlook fog (h) crThe song’s longer version focuses almost exclusively on nature.  In one verse it says “He’s got the earth and the sky in His hands.  He’s got the night and the day in His hands.  He’s got the sun and the moon in His hands. He’s got the whole world in His hands.”  The next verse says “He’s got the land and the sea in His hands.  He’s got the wind and the rain in His hands.  He’s got the spring and the fall in His hands.  He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

CA Coast 973The song doesn’t teach us anything that the Scriptures don’t already.  The Bible declares in numerous places that God created the world and that it is also God who holds the world together still (see Colossians 1:16-17). Being Father’s Day I should hasten to add that the One who holds the world in His hands is like a loving parent, the most loving of all.  The thought of God holding this world of ours in His hands is a very comforting one to me.  It is the same comfort I see and feel looking at a black and white picture of a father holding his young son in his hands some fifty-seven years ago.  I’m very glad to know that God truly does have this planet, you and me in His hands.  There are, after all, no better hands to be in.


(I took the middle image at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and the bottom image on the California coast not far from where Rob lives.)

Jun 21 2009

This Is My Father’s World

morning-light1This morning at church we sang the hymn “This Is My Father’s World.”  Being Father’s Day, it seemed an appropriate choice.  This particular hymn has been a favorite of mine for a long time but as we sang the song I noticed that the words in the Chalice Hymnal were different from the ones I grew up singing.  The first two verses were the same:

“This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears, all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.  This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, the morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.  This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair; in the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.”

The third verse started with words I was familiar with, “This is my Father’s world.  Oh, let me ne’er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”  After this came the new words: “God trusts us with the world to keep it clean and fair, all earth and trees, the skies and seas, God’s creatures everywhere.”

Some research done this afternoon reveals that these last words were not part of the original hymn.  Still, I’m glad they somehow found their way into our hymnal.  Here we find an important reminder that having been blessed with a beautiful and marvelous world by our heavenly Father, we are now entrusted by Him to “keep it clean and fair.”  We need such reminders for if we do not keep the world clean and fair our ability to see and hear God “everywhere” will be hindered. It will also influence how future generations will be able to experience God in Creation.

On a day set aside to honor our earthly fathers, let’s pause to remember that one way we can honor our heavenly Father is by caring for and protecting His Creation.

–Chuck Summers

(The picture of “morning light” that appears above was taken recently at Pine Mountain State Park in Kentucky.)