“Matt* and Loren* are coming to visit the weekend after next. Would you be able to join us for dinner that Saturday night?”
I had just arrived at ensemble practice. Dave*, our director, was already there organizing music.
“Yeah, I’ll come. It’ll be great to catch up with them.” Matt and Loren were mutual friends who had moved away.
“We’ll probably eat around six, but come early—say five? That’ll give us more time to chat,” I added.
Dave whipped a pen off the piano and wrote a note to himself—on his hand.
I had to smile. Dave was/is one of the most creative, musically talented young men I’ve ever met. Not only is he a concert-trained pianist, he’s a composer with a gift for turning artful melodies into worship.
But in those days, he would have been the first to tell you that keeping track of details or appointments was a challenge; thus the notes-on-the-hand habit. If the commitment was right there in front of him, he’d most likely remember to put it on his calendar later. The message wouldn’t be forgotten amidst all the ideas and musical themes racing through his head.
I know someone else who writes information on the palm of his hand. The information is your name and mine. The someone? Our Heavenly Father.
(“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
–Isaiah 49:16 NIV)
Of course, this assurance was addressed to the people of Israel, but it’s applicable to each of us, because: 1) those of us who believe in Jesus have been adopted into Abraham’s family (Galatians 3:6-9), and 2) God does not lose sight of the individual within the multitude (Luke 3:3-7).
“God loves each of us as if there was only one of us.”
But don’t think of God’s love as perfunctory or pity-driven.
You are a treasure to your Heavenly Father—the delight of his heart (Deuteronomy 7:6; Psalm 149:4).
You and I are constantly in his thoughts (Psalm 139 17-18).
And the imagery of our names engraved (cut, carved, or etched) on his palms brings to mind several important truths:
- God cannot and will not forget us or abandon us.
- His omniscient knowledge doesn’t just include our names, but also who we are—our personalities, dreams, circumstances, strengths and weaknesses—everything about us—is on his mind.
- Our images engraved on God’s palms represent an incredible role reversal. In ancient times, slaves bore the brand mark of their masters. But our Master has sacrificially submitted himself to inscribe our names on his palms.
- The image represents who we are becoming in God’s view, which is undoubtedly different from ours. “Reality is not what we see; reality is what God sees” (Biblical Illustrator). And that reality is perfection.
(“By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever
those who are being made holy.”
–Hebrews 10:14 NIV)
Of course, that one sacrifice was Jesus, who bled and died on a cross so we might be made right with God and receive the gift of eternal life.
As a result, Isaiah 49:16 (about our names written on God’s palms) has taken on new meaning:
“See, I have engraved you—in blood—on the palms of my hands.”
* * * * * * * * * *
I praise you, Heavenly Father, that it is totally impossible for you to forget your own. How humbling to realize I am engraved on your hands—hands that withstood the nails for me. But gratitude alone is terribly insufficient.
I want your name, Lord, engraved on my palms, so I might become that perfected reality you already see.
*Names have been changed.
Art & photo credits: www.pinterest.com (3)