Palm Reading

Palm Reading

Have you ever done something that made you feel ashamed of yourself?  Made you not like yourself very much?  Maybe it was something very sinful but often times it is those poor decisions where we lack discipline. We eat the whole cake, rather than just a slice.  We act in a selfish manner and we immediately regret our actions.  We think such horrible things that if our thoughts became public, we just know that we would have to move.  It is in those times that we find that we do not like ourselves very much.  We thought we were making progress but we so easily slip back into those bad habits that we just hate.  If we were honest, we find it difficult to believe that if people knew, really knew, they would still like us.  We are not really fond of ourselves in those moments.
Then we read a verse like Isaiah 49:10, “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands”.  In the context, God is expressing surprise that Judah believes that somehow, God has forgotten them.  God, in very graphic language, expresses how he could never forget them.  How could he forget those that are engraved on the palms of his hands? They are his and he will restore them.  What should strike us is that God does not say that he has engraved their name on his hand.  While their name would be included, he specifically says that he has engraved them on his hand.  That is worth meditating on.  Having my name engraved on the hand of God would be very cool.  I am his.  Want proof?  There is my name on his hand.  But, for me, my whole life, all of who I am, to be engraved on his hand...that is somewhat mind blowing.  The point of the passage is that God cannot and does not forget me and to prove that he speaks of me being engraved on his hand.  Warts and all.  My failures are engraved on his hand and yet he chooses not to forsake me.  He chooses to show me kindness and love.  Even when my failures cause me not to like myself, God still remembers me and loves me.  We know now, he is able to do that because of the work of Jesus but to think that he still wants to be associated with me, in such an intimate way, despite my failures, is a love that is difficult for me to comprehend.
Did you ever stop to think about why we are engraved on the palm of his hand?  If I were to get a tattoo of my kids, I think I would place it over my heart.  They are always in my heart. (ok, on some days, I might want to place the tattoo on another part of my anatomy but mostly over my heart).  But that is kind of the point...even as parents we struggle with always being fully loving of our children (see Is 49:15) but God always loves.  But why the palm of his hand? Again, the cynic in me thinks it is because when I mess up he can then slap his forehead with me but I think there is another reason. It is because not only does God always love us and always want to be identified with as as one of his own but we are engraved on the palm of his hand so that we know that he always keeps us.  He simply closes his hand and no one or no thing can harm us or pluck us out of his hand.  We can’t even crawl out of his hand.  I can always choose to love my children but I cannot always protect them or keep them.  But God can.  He always keeps and protects those that are his. Even though we fail, he is always faithful in keeping us and protecting us.
It is hard for us to comprehend that kind of love.  So when you find yourself in those moments of complete failure, where you find it difficult to like yourself, know that God has you written on the palm of his hand.  Warts and all.
I must admit that I am still meditating on this great truth.  Here is one thought to maybe carry this further, “Why does it say the palm(s) of his hand(s)?”  Am I written on both hands?

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