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.)

Nov 24 2010

An Invitation to Thanksgiving

wild-turkey-064In Psalm 95:1-7 we find a wonderful invitation to thanksgiving that has nothing to do with turkeys.  The Psalmist begins this psalm by saying “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”  One of the primary reasons the Psalmist gives for offering God our thanksgiving and praise is that He is “our Maker.”  We’re told in verses 3-5, “In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.  The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”

I preached on this passage this past Sunday and told my congregation that when I read these words that I cannot help but think of a song I loved to sing as a child.  That song is “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”  An important element of my faith is the belief that God created the world and that the “whole wide world” is, indeed, in His hands.  For that reason I give thanks this Thanksgiving for the gift of Creation.  What an incredible and beautiful world God made!  I also give thanks that God’s hand still holds and sustains that which He has made-including us.

GSM-warm-light-and-rocks-720Although I’m confident the Psalmist was thinking of literal valleys, mountains, seas and deserts when he wrote what he did in Psalm 95, I also think we can see these figuratively.  When we go through life’s valleys—times of trouble or sickness–we are still in God’s hands.  When we are “on the mountaintop” and everything is going well for us, God is there.  For the ancient Israelites the sea was feared.  In the scary times and places of our life God is always present.  And when we go through the dry, arid, periods in life that inevitably come our way God is there too.  He has the whole world in His hands and He’s got us in those hands as well.  That truth gives me a great deal of comfort and hope day to day and makes me want to “come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”  This Thanksgiving I will have no shortage of things for which to give thanks!


 p.s.  I want to wish each of you a very happy Thanksgiving and say thanks for taking the time to read the words Rob and I share with you through SeeingCreation.com.