Friday, November 18, 2011

Engraved On His Hand

But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”  “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands . . . .”  Isaiah 49: 14b-16a.

A few years ago, I received an unusual charm bracelet—not with trinkets commemorating special events, but with charms each holding a tiny, silver-framed photo of one of my children.  I treasure this gift not just for its beauty but because it keeps the images of those most precious to me close at hand.  On difficult days, or when a child’s behavior is less than what I wish for, I glance at those giggling faces, freshly reminded of how blessed I am.

My children are not the only ones who struggle with obedience, though.  My own actions often disappoint me and, I am sure, God as well.  Especially when I seem unable to act in a Christlike way, I wonder whether my Father might want to forget about me, or even leave me altogether.  My fears echo those of the Israelites who—having been continually rebellious—believe that “’The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’”  

God’s response to such fears is deeply reassuring: “‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has born?  Though she may forget, I will not forget you!’”  Our Father never stops thinking about His children.  Indeed, scripture suggests He thinks of us with every glimpse at His hands:  “‘See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands . . . .’”  God is reminded of His love for us, not by a bracelet that can easily be taken off, but because He has permanently carved each of His children—even the less-than-perfectly-obedient ones like me—into His very flesh.  

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