Hands Up

Take a few seconds to look at the palms of your hands.

You likely noticed one thing above all else: lines. Lots and lots of lines. Some deep, some traceable, some barely noticeable...these pathways serve as unique identifiers for every person. Known as palmar flexion creases, the lines on our palms are actually there so we can open, close, and stretch our hands. Indeed, we are wonderfully made.

I write all of this not to announce my decision to become a palm reader (the market is already oversaturated) but to better explain what God sees when He looks at His hands.

Isaiah 49 depicts a conversation between God and Zion (His people) in which Zion says, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” (Verse 14, NIV). As with many cases in which humanity feels lost or forgotten, God reassures them (and us) that He ALWAYS remembers them. In verses 15 and 16, God 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! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

God loves us so much that He etched us into His hands. That means when God traces the lines on His palms, instead of noticing all of the unique patterns, He’s thinking about us. We are the unique, distinctive lines zigzagging in different directions. Some of us are light; some of us are dark; some of us are long; some of us are short; some are stained; some are clean; some are barely even noticeable. But God sees each and every one of us every time He looks down.

What have you engraved on your hands? Some of us might literally have tattoos or scars that serve as permanent reminders of the good and bad times of our pasts. But for most of us, no visual reminders are needed. We’ve etched messages about our identity deep into the palms of our hands, arms, hearts, and brains. Though these messages can be memories such as the birth of a child or meeting the love of a lifetime, they often are the things we most need to forget: our sins, our failures, or the times we’ve been wounded by the people we trusted the most.

So I ask again, what’s engraved on the palms of your hands? For God, we know it’s His creation. More than that, it’s His love for His creation.

Jesus, being the physical form of God, was nailed to a cross to die for our sins. For most people reading this blog, Jesus’ sacrifice is old information. But if we stop to think about his nail-scarred hands in relation to God’s message from Isaiah 49:16, the parallel is breathtaking.

Indeed, God engraved each and every one of us on his hands. Perhaps not in the sense described in Isaiah but undeniably when Jesus had nails driven into his hands. He loved us so much that He became our offering and agreed to have our blood … our sin … on his hands forever in the form of the nail piercings He suffered. Jesus engraved us upon Himself.

It’s not too late for us to alter the engravings on our own hands. Instead of each line representing a past mistake, we can look at our hands the way Jesus looks at His: as a loving reminder of what happened on the cross.