The hands of God and death
I think that this will be the first of three related posts, but I am not sure.
I received a great Christmas present last year. My wife bought me the complete works of Francis Schaeffer and I am working through some of his 22 books that I have not had the privilege of reading in the past. Schaeffer framed the "problem" of the apparent primitivism or anthropomorphism of the hand of God in my reading last night in a way that I hadn't thought of before (why does the song Candy Guru go through my head whenever I write that?). Schaeffer is always quick to ensure that his readers know that our God has made Himself manifest in space time history. He mentioned that the picture of the hand of God is simply a reference to His real work in history and in, well, everything. Our thoughts are actuated through our hands (and feet, and mouths, and...) thus to paint a picture of a God who actuates His thoughts in the physical world we would naturally turn to the picture of a hand doing stuff.
Now, he goes onto say that the hand of God does numerous things. One thing that this hand does is guide. We reach out for God's hand when we need to steady ourselves as we negotiate treacherous times in our lives. We do this because, like a son holding out his hand to his father, we know that He will give us good guidance and will lead us to a safe harbor. He wants us to reach out to Him much like we want our children to seek our counsel and guidance. Stubbornly we refuse His hand and that is only to our peril. Merciful and graceful God that He is he continually reaches toward us even though His hand is sometimes raw and red from us slapping it away. All part of His continual condescension I guess.
Well, that got me to thinking about my friend death. Not that long ago I painted a picture in my mind of death and me, hand in hand, running through the wildflower field that led me to the fullness of God's presence in heaven. Not that death was leading me there, but that his companionship was essential to my journey toward the place that I was meant to be all along. I still think that his is a good hand to hold, but son of earth that I am I struggle to know exactly why.
More on that later.