Isaiah 49:16– ‘Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands’. What does that mean? Some background. When a child leaves home in ancient Israel, moving to some far off place, there’s the strong possibility the parent’s will never see that child again. The mother would tattoo onto the palm of her hand the name of that child. The name remains permanently before her eyes. No longer seen. Never forgotten.
I was looking through old family photos. Have one of great-grandparents Johann Adam and Christiana Fischer. They appear quite elderly, standing near the blacksmith shop he worked at. She’s tall. He’s not. They appear unpretentious and hard-working.
This is the only photo to remember them by. My grandfather, Adam Fischer, left Germany when he was 14 to avoid the military draft. He never returned home. Only one old photo of them in his possession. They never saw their son ever again. Or he, them.
I feel sad writing this. How would I feel never seeing one of our children ever again? Devastated. Heartbroken. Bereft. But this was not uncommon for immigrants many years ago.
Isaiah, in today’s passage, wants to reassure us that no matter where we are, no matter how difficult life becomes, the Lord is always with us. Always concerned. Like having a tattoo with our names on the palms of His hands. Always before Him. Close to His heart.
That’s where we are…at this very moment. Close as close can be. Isaiah 50: 10–‘Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.’
He has our names engraved on His hands, trusting Him when life turns awfully unhandy.
Lord, we know we can trust in you. Amen.