As I have been walking around Inverness for the last few weeks it has been apparent that the change in season has had an effect on the citizens of our city. The sunshine and warmth has brought a spring in the steps of those passing the church building. However, if we were to look behind the smiles and ask the many who pass our church, “what do you think about God?” The answer may likely be, “what would he want to do with me?”
I would like to say it is only the many unsaved who think this, but the truth be told, I think we are all prone to forget how much the Lord loves us. Sometimes, if we are honest, we take our eyes off the Lord. The problem is that as soon as we do this the weight of the world’s burdens come down upon our shoulders. We feel the pain which surrounds us, we feel forgotten, we feel all alone and we begin to ask the Lord: “do you still remember me?” In the time of exile when the people of Israel were perplexed by their situation they asked the same question. In Isaiah 49:14 it says:
14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”
Yet, look at how the Lord responds:
15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.
The Lord responds to this cry in his ever gracious manner. He asks the question; could a mother forget the child she has borne and fed? Unfortunately, the answer is yes she could. However, the Lord says, though she could I can not! It is impossible for me to forget you. It is the amazing truth that it is completely and utterly impossible for the Lord to forget us.
Why is this? Well, as verse 16 says, we are engraved on the palms of his hands!
It was a custom of this time for men to tattoo on their hand the name of their wife as a sign of commitment and faithfulness. How astounding this thought must have been to Israel! The Lord almighty with the name ISRAEL on the palms of his hands! The image serves the purpose it is designed for – the Lord is faithful and committed to us.
Every time the Lord opens his hand he sees our name. He sees you and me, he sees his Church, he remembers his covenant to us. Even in our darkest moments, our nights of despair and the days we ask God, “have you forgotten me?” He simply looks at his hand and reminds us, “I can never forget you.”
One of the greatest miracles we can fathom in our life is that in heaven we will see Christ in bodily form. Then, casting our eyes on the image of the invisible God, we will see the nail marks on his hands and know that this image of our names being written on His hands is not merely symbolic but actually true. The scars of the nails are our names and as the nails pierced his hands at Calvary they also pierced the power of our sins. This is the reminder for us, that through all eternity, even though we have questioned if the Lord has forgotten us, he will say to us:
“See, I told you. I can never forget you and now that you’re here with me you will never forget me.”
Until then, let us hold fast to the faith we profess. Wishing you a blessed month this Springtime.
Rev. Dan Paterson