Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

A Mighty Hand and Outstretched Arm

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"The great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the Lord your God brought you out. So shall the Lord your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid" (Deuteronomy 7:19).

Great mysteries come from above to control our surroundings and give us life without interference with our freewill and destiny. It also helps us to overcome and to ensure us that we are not alone.

Mysteries that we can only makes us 'WOW' in front of them and contemplate about them, God will go to the end of the earth exposing His love for us and His mighty works in order to redeem us and bring us back to him.

"I have made the earth, and created man on it. I – My hands- stretched out of heavens, and all their host I have commanded" (Isaiah 45:12).

Since the beginning of life God stretched His mighty hand and commanded the formation of the earth, the light, the day and night, the land and the vegetation, the animals, and the sea to be formed.

God formed the man with His mighty hand and watched him destroying himself. God never pulled His hand on him but He had to form a plan in order to save the humanity from ultimate death.

Many times we read in the Holy Bible the stretch of the arm to save the people or a person from ultimate destruction, for example:

  • God commanded Moses to stretch out his hand with many plagues against Pharaoh in order let His people out of Egypt, "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by great judgments" (Exodus 7:3-4).

  • God commanded Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea of Egypt, "Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters wear divided" (Exodus 14:21).

  • When Joshua fought with AmaleK, Moses stretched his hand with prayers, "And so it was, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Almalek prevailed" (Exodus 17:11).

  • In the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew we see a miracle that performed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, "Then He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other" (Matthew 12:13).

Time after time, God's great mysteries and power appeared in order to comfort us and lead us to His way. Yet time after we disobey Him and walk away from Him. Time after time our egos take over and lead us into destruction and disappointment but amazingly generation after generation continue to repeat the same act.

Our Lord Jesus Christ came among us despite all the cruelty of man and his disobediences. Why?

God's love surpasses any act we do. For He knows deep down we all are very fragile, we all seeking true love in our heart, and we all, without Him have only one destiny condemnation and death.

Our Father suffered seeing the suffering and the humiliation of His Son. Our Lord Jesus Christ went all the way unto death in order to bring us all back.

Some will ask, what did He do that made His suffering unique than any others?

Our Lord Jesus Christ had to carry not only the burden of but the actual shame, the spit, humiliation, the beating, the wood cross. For example when He was on the cross:

  • "The people stood by, watching, and the rulers mocked Him saying, 'He saved others, let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen one.'"

  • "The soldiers also mocked Him saying, 'If You are the king of the Jews, save Yourself and come down off the cross.'"

  • "One of the criminals railed at Him in front of everyone, saying, 'If you are the Christ save Yourself and save us of this shame that we endure.'"
    (Exposition of the Six Hour of Great Friday)

Now in order to understand how His sacrifices were savvier, we have to look at God characteristics which all sum in one word, 'Holy'. He has no place in His heart for sin and will not tolerate it.

"These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren" (Proverb 6:16-19).

His ultimate task is carrying the Cross of our sins which as a Holy God with no blemish had to carry what He hates most. Why?

"But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said; 'Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, 'Behold I have come —in the volume of the book it is written of Me —to do Your will, O God.''" (Hebrews 10:3-7).

Despite all His suffering and His discomfort, He opened His hand and stretched His arm wide to everyone who were in need of healing, to everyone who seek Him and also to everyone who despises Him. He knew that this is the only way to lift our souls from the captivity of Satan and grant us salvation and victory over evil forces.

If we think and try to understand the ultimate sacrifices that God did and does for us every single day, we will never want to disappoint Him again. God will look around and search to find His children and is saddened by the amount of sins that is growing in the world but despite all of that He will always loves us and seek us and try to bring us back to Him.

"My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. I and My Father are one" ((John 10:27-30).

God's true children know and are comforted by the fact that God will never pull His hand away from anyone. His arm will always be stretched wide for anyone who seeks to know Him.

God, a special thanks to You for You always have compassions on us. You are faithful even when we are not; always cover us, loving us, protecting us, and filling our heart with peace and joy knowing that You are always there.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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