We have framed photos of many of our family, especially our two children, in our home in several of the rooms and Jason also has a photo of Josh and Jess on his desk at work. Why do we keep these photos visible and not just in an album? Because our family are precious to us, we love them, they bring us joy and when we see their photos we are reminded of them and how much they mean to us. They may not be with us all the time, but with the use of photography they are kept close to us.
God has an even better way of keeping us, his children, in his thoughts. It says in Isaiah 49:16 "See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands." (NLT). Just spend a few moments dwelling on this verse - God has written my name, Vicki, he's written your name, on the palm of his hand. Why would he do that? I believe it's because he loves us so much that he wants us ever before him. We are precious to him, he cares about us, he's interested in the things and people we care about. I believe it's another way to say that he has us in his heart. And, with us ever before him, he will never forget us. Of course, it's impossible for God to ever forget us. It may not seem that way to us sometimes but the previous verse says this: “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you!" v15. It may be that our own parents didn't show us the love, care and attention that we craved as their children, but we have God's promise that his love, care and attention is always on us. Telling us that our names are written, graven on his hands, is a way of emphasizing that God will never, could never, forget us. We can trust and know that we are on his hands and in his heart.
Sometimes I like to look up verses in another version, the truth is always the same, but I find reading it in a different version brings another dimension to my understanding. I really like how the Amplified version words v16: "Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands;". Wow! Just re-read it to yourself again, for me it reinforces the meaning behind the words. My picture, your picture, is "indelibly imprinted or tattooed" on God's hands. God doesn't need photos! Photos can get damaged, can be lost, can fade. But God has a permanent reminder of me on his hands, it can't be washed off, it's ever-lasting, it can't be removed or erased. It tells me how much you and I mean to God, we mean so much to God that he wants a permanent reminder of us always before him. It shows me, even more clearly, just how much God loves me, how he values a relationship with me as his child, that nothing can take away the love he has for me, that the relationship I have with him is a permanent one, one that is meant for eternity. He will never remove me or erase me from his mind or heart, I won't fade from his memory, I will never be lost to him, I am always visible to him and there is nothing that can separate me from my relationship with him,
In Romans 8:38-39 Paul says "38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (NLT)
Just one more thought before I end. I've shared about what is on God the Father's hands and I wanted to leave you with a thought about God the Son's (Jesus') hands. When I think of Jesus I think about his nail pierced hands, that he was wounded for my sake, for your sake, as he was nailed to the cross so that we could have a personal and eternal relationship with God. The marks on his hands are for love of me and love of you and it touches me deeply when I reflect on the truth of this. Jesus bears these marks as a reminder to us of just how much he loves us and how much it cost him to demonstrate his love for us.
To Think About:
Over the week meditate on Isaiah 49:16. What does that verse mean to you?
What does it mean to you to know that God has promised never to forget you? That he has you on his hands and in his heart.
Reflect on Jesus' nail pierced hands and what this means to you.