“Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hand.” Isaiah 49:16
When I was in middle school, when you were “going out” with a boy, you would write his name on your hand every day. Usually the name was accompanied with little hearts and smiley faces and perhaps even the date of your anniversary. Pretty romantic, right? Keep in mind this was before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Our hands were THE way to know who was dating whom. When your boyfriend didn’t write your name on his hand… Sorry, Charlie. It was over.
The first time I heard the verse, “See, I have engraved you in the palm of my hand” was when I was a sophomore in high school and it hit me like a train. Engraved is such a strong, descriptive word. The pens and Crayola markers we used in 7th grade to mark our love washed off every night in the shower. But our names are engraved in the palm of God’s hand. Not just with Sharpie, or even a temporary tattoo.
This is a permanent, infinite, engraved type of commitment of love. We are never, ever going to be forgotten (or broken up with after 2nd period English…) by God. For me, this verse goes hand in hand with the first verse of chapter three of Isaiah – “I have called you by name, you are mine.”
At this moment, there are 7,285,599,039 people in this world. And God knows every single one by name. He knows their likes and dislikes, their favorite movies, their biggest fears, everything. He has all those names written on his hand. Isn’t that so crazy to wrap your brain around?
The skin on our palms is perhaps the thickest of our entire body. What a statement God makes by engraving our names in his palm - they will not fade or go away with time. They are permanent in every sense of the word.
It still makes me giggle to think about the old trend of marking our relationships on our hands in middle school. As ridiculous as it is now, it really does show me how strongly Isaiah 49:16 demonstrates God’s compassion and love for all of us.
Timothy Keller once said:
“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is out greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”
God knows us from the inside out – our greatest flaws and our proudest moments – and has permanently placed our names on His palm anyway. There is no greater love than that.