What’s the clearest, most solid physical difference between generations? I
believe it’s whether or not you have a tattoo. Tattooing is noticeably today’s most
identifiable cultural phenomenon. Most people in my age group (defined as
traditionalists or baby boomers) don’t quite get the astonishing display of tattoos worn
by other generations—the Millenials (my grandchildren’s age) or Generation Xers (my
children’s age). I admit it; I’m getting better but some of my opinions about tattoos have
been rather stereotypical.
I guess that explains why I was so astonished to discover that God has a tattoo!
Don’t believe me? Check it out. In the King James Version of the Bible, this
passage in Isaiah begins with the word “behold.” God speaks with emphasis, as if to
say: Come here; hear this. This is important. Pay attention. You are about to be
surprised at what I’m going to tell you. Isaiah recorded God Himself speaking and
wrote—I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.
I met The Reverend Patricia Brock, Chaplain at the Southern Hills Medical
Center, on a day when she delivered the chapel meditation. I arrived early enough to
choose an unobtrusive seat along the wall; I wanted to be an observer. As service
started, nearly every seat filled with clinicians, hospital workers and volunteers.
Afterward, I asked Rev. Brock for her views about the spiritual side of healing. During
our conversation, she told me about God’s tattoo. A friend gave her a bookmark with
those words from Isaiah. “I needed to know that I am that close to God—that He loves
me that much,” she said. “Our hands say a great deal about us.”
So, God has a tattoo! And, just like everyone whose tattoo connects them with
someone they love or with something they favor, God’s tattoo is an image of you.
He placed it smack in the center of both His hands. Your image is engraved in the hollow
of God’s palms, on the flat of His hands. The Hebrew word in this passage, chaqaq,
means to cut in or to carve. Some translations refer to the imprint as being your name; I
prefer the interpretation that it’s an image of you.
In the midst of life’s challenges, our greatest fear is that God has forgotten us.
We fear that He doesn’t see the storms swirling around us. Do our storms even matter
to God? There you are, smack in the middle of a cyclone, and—like the disciples out on
the sea with Jesus—you wonder if the great God of the universe cares what happens to
you. Is He asleep? Is He preoccupied while you face a cataclysm?
The answer is in His tattoo: you are never out of God’s thoughts; you are
constantly on God’s mind. God says: Your image is ever before me because it is carved
on my hand. Your portrait is there, your imprint is permanent.
My son, Randy, has an amusing habit. Whenever he thinks he may forget
something important and doesn’t have a piece of paper, he writes a note to himself on
the palm of his hand. It may be a phone number, a short checklist, or even a sketch.
When Randy washes his hands, his notes are gone. But, you are not a temporary mark
on God’s hand; your image is perpetual, everlasting, enduring.
Know this: God has a wall of protection around you. This is evidence of how
precious you are to Him and the great affection He has for you. Not only does he place
His angels around us to guide us, but God Himself is our protection.
How comforting to know that, in all things, we are never, ever out of God’s sight or thoughts.