See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands… (Isaiah 49:16)
He wrote her initials in ink on his hand. He was 10 and she was 9. The ink washed away. But he would never forget her.
When he returned from Vietnam he wore a silver bracelet with an Army service number engraved on it. He would not forget his friend who was now MIA.
He became a cop. He was nearing retirement when the call sent him to the Twin Towers. His son, the Marine, now wears the tattoo with the words: Dad 9-11. He will not be forgotten.
It is important for us not to forget those we love. It is important that we are not forgotten.
Sometimes the Old Testament people felt that they were. Isaiah carries their lament: “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”
Sometimes we feel that way. When we struggle along in misery it can seem like no one else sees, no one understands, and no one cares. We might even be tempted to include God on this list.
One does not need be a POW left behind in a far off land in order to wonder if God has not noticed our plight. We can be safe in America, daily reporting in for work, leading what seems to be a normal life—but inside facing a fear and waging a battle that is apt to tear us to pieces. No one else might know about it. We might as well be a thousand miles away. We are on our own.
Except, except we are not!
Our Lord God in the heavens always sees, always knows, and always cares. He says,
“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.”
He goes on to explain: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…”
Those are powerful hands. They direct the course of stars and storms. They shape nations, and overturn empires. They heal the sick and overthrow the plans of the wicked. They keep Satan at bay, and bring in the dawn of the new day.
When the hands of God allow trouble and sorrow to come into our lives, the cause is not holy anger. Nor does he make mistakes. Our welfare is the goal of his plan for us. His love designs that plan.
The entire world is ruled for the benefit of his people. He sacrificed his Son for us. We are always on his mind. We are always in his view.
We are never forgotten
Eternal Father, strong to save, there are times that we feel we have been abandoned. You know this. You care about this, even as you care for us. Remind us that nothing comes into our life by accident, and nothing comes to the Child of God as punishment. Point us to Jesus who rescued us from the grip of hell. In troubling times, show us your hands tattooed with our names. Give us assurance. Give us peace of mind. Give us faith.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain
and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military