"Isaiah XLIX 16" by Justin Ulmer Christian Modern Art
"I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands."
The image I get when I read this verse is when I have gripped something too tight I have an impression of that object in my hand. This impression eventually fades but to engrave takes it even further. It takes it to eternity. Yes, God has engraven you and I into his hands for eternity. You are not just written, but marked out, inscribed into his palms.
Fear. Fear is something we all experience. As a mother, I fear for my child's safety when they are not in my presence. As a wife, I fear that my husband will leave this life before me. I fear that my cancer will come back while I am still young and my children and husband have to carry on without me. Fear. It is a part of our daily life, but God doesn't want us to live this way. He wants us to surrender our fears and anxious ways to Him. I struggle with this daily. There is something so terribly hard about letting go and letting God. I don't know why- It sounds so simple, but tends to be so hard.
"That's not so hard to do ," you say, but what about when our greatest fears come true. Where is God then? Where is He in the mist of the Haitian disastrous earthquake. Where is He when sickness takes over a healthy body, or a spouse that you love deeply wants a diviorce. You name the situation, the list is long and we have all had our share of life altering pain. Has God forsaken us or them? NO! Nothing could be further from the truth.
This particular passage is written to the Israelites to remind them that God did not forsake them in their time of trouble, but this same truth is applicable for us today. He is the Creator, the Creator of everything- every nation, tribe and tongue. He also sent His only son, Jesus who took our sins upon himself who knew no sin so that we could spend eternity with Him if we accept His free gift of salvation. Jesus' nail pierced hands are phyical proof that He loves us so very much. John 10:28 says, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me."
Even in the mist of disaster, God is there ready to pick the country of Haiti up and bring beauty out of the ashes. I marvel at some of the images I have seen of Haitian people lifting their hands in praise to God. Even in the worst devestation those who know God recognize that He does indeed love them and will not forsake them.
He's there to pick you up and hold onto you tightly while you are going through the toughest of times. He is holding tightly, so tight that you are indeed graven in the palm of His hand. He will never let go. NEVER!
Charles Spurgeon wrote this-
No doubt a part of the wonder which is concentrated in the word "Behold," is excited by the unbelieving lamentation of the preceding sentence. Zion said, "The Lord hath forsaken me, and my God hath forgotten me." How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God's favoured people? The Lord's loving word of rebuke should make us blush; He cries, "How can I have forgotten thee, when I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands? How darest thou doubt my constant remembrance, when the memorial is set upon my very flesh?" O unbelief, how strange a marvel thou art! We know not which most to wonder at, the faithfulness of God or the unbelief of His people. He keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never faileth; He is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapour; and yet we are as continually vexed with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears, as if our God were the mirage of the desert.
"Behold," is a word intended to excite admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marvelling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain so great a nearness to the heart of infinite love as to be written upon the palms of His hands. "I have graven thee."It does not say, "Thy name." The name is there, but that is not all: "I have graven thee." See the fullness of this! I have graven thy person, thine image, thy case, thy circumstances, thy sins, thy temptations, thy weaknesses, thy wants, thy works; I have graven thee, everything about thee, all that concerns thee; I have put thee altogether there. Wilt thou ever say again that thy God hath forsaken thee when He has graven thee upon His own palms?