John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Where are the hands?

This utterly familiar passage—you see it on bumper stickers and in Twitter bios, in tattoos and embroidered on couch pillows—reminds me of an old Sunday School song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”

There was a man, Mr. Weaver, who was a member of my church growing up. Every once and a while, he popped into our Sunday School classrooms, as if on a whim, with his guitar in hand. He would sit down with the class and sing us “oldie but goodie” church songs. I’m sure he had an extended repertoire, like a church school Pete Seeger, but I only really remember singing one song with him: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.”

The whole ditty is catchy and can be sung for a very long time. All you have to do is replace the word “world” with something else God holds. Say, “the fish in the sea,” and you’ve got yourself a new verse. “He’s got the fish in the sea in his hands. He’s got the fish in the sea in his hands. He’s got the fish in the sea in his hands. He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Mommies and daddies. Sun and the moon. On and on it goes.

However, when I sang this song with Mr. Weaver, I couldn’t get one thing out of my head. Where are the hands? Are God’s hands really in space holding the earth like I hold a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day? How did they not squish the fish in the sea, mommies and daddies, and the sun and the moon?

I wouldn’t realize until confirmation that the hands that love the world. The type of love John 3:16 talks about is not hands literally cradling the earth in space. God’s hands are the hands of Jesus who used his hands to heal the sick, comfort the grieving, break bread and which hung on the cross

Pr. Dan Joyner Miller


Prayer: Let me see your hands at work in the world. Not as something apart from our experience but in acts of love, forgiveness, and grace.

To ponder: Where do you see the hands of God?