Engraved on the Palms of His Hands

Have you ever been reading along and you see something that stops you in your tracks? I mean, it literally arrests every one of your senses and makes you halt and take notice? I'm ashamed to say that's not my usual experience when I'm reading the Word, but this particular day was different. It was Isaiah 49 . . .

But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me. Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me" (vv. 14–16).

Not sure whether it was because, like Zion, I was feeling like the Lord had forgotten about me, or whether it was that picture of a mother nursing her newborn baby that so caught my heart. But what a powerful picture of how the Lord loves His children!

A Love Like No Other

God's promise is that He will never forget us. He will love us even more intimately than the best of mothers!

I am a mother, and the image of a baby at the breast evokes almost a visceral reaction. The softness of the baby's face, tenderness of the skin, the look of longing in the baby's eyes—a bond like no other human bond. Yet in the human realm there are some mothers who don't have this kind of bond with their babies . . . they do forget them. But God's promise is that He will never forget us. He will love us even more intimately than the best of mothers! And He seals that commitment by writing our names on the palms of His hands.

This vision of God speaks volumes to me. It says that . . .

  • God is a very personal God. He is not distant and far away. In fact, He is even closer to us than a mother is to her baby. He dwells within us. There is no other religion that can claim a God who dwells within. His Word is full of promises that remind us of His closeness (Ps. 139:7–10; Rom. 8:31–39).
  • God cannot and does not forsake His own. The Old Testament is a vivid depiction of this truth. From almost the moment of its formation as a nation, the people of Israel rebelled against God's goodness. Yet He was constant in His forgiveness and His compassion, ever faithful to remember His covenant with Abraham. The very context of Isaiah 49 is God's promise to restore His people, Israel, to Himself.
  • God's love far surpasses the greatest human love we can know. In our very best efforts as mothers, we must admit that we fall short of the perfection portrayed on Mother's Day cards. We are sometimes short tempered, we often parent out of our anger, our love is sometimes conditional, based on the performance of our children. But God is not like that. His love is perfect. He loves unconditionally—in spite of our waywardness and rebellion (Rom. 8:1).
  • God cements His promise by engraving our names on His hands. My concerns are ever before the Lord, day by day, moment by moment. There is never a time when He is not thinking about me. And He makes this promise to every one of His children. You are on His mind at this very moment. What comfort! What peace!

How does Isaiah 49 speak to your heart? I really hope it encourages you to always know and be assured of His great love for you. May this truth be an anchor for your soul and water for your thirst to be known and loved. The matchless King of kings and Lord of lords has spoken it: He loves you, and your name is written on the very palms of His hands!

Did you discover God’s Truth today?

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About the Author

Karen Waddles

Karen Waddles

Karen is assistant to the publisher at Moody Publishers, a conference speaker, and contributing author to Our Voices: Issues Facing Black Women in America and The Women of Color Study Bible. She and her husband, George, who has been a pastor for the past 35 years, have four grown children and nine grandchildren. Her greatest joy is seeing women experience the fruit of God's blessings when they apply the principles of biblical womanhood to their lives.

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