Did you catch that? God has a tattoo. And it has your name on it.
With full knowledge of what he was getting himself into, God made a
decision to love us. That decision wasn't a temporary commitment—his
love won't stop if someone better comes along. And it wasn't a
conditional commitment—his love isn't based on what we can
contribute to the relationship. It's a forever promise, a "not even
death can part us" promise.
In our human relationships, we
long for tangible reminders that we're loved. We want people to
remember our birthday, send us flowers for no particular reason,
tell us what they appreciate about us, hug us. God knows we have
this need. He understands our short memory and our desire for
tangible proof. So not only does he tell us over and over in
Scripture how much he loves us, he went so far as to engrave our
names on the palms of his hands. If there ever was a doubt of his
love, God's tattoo settles it now and forever. We belong to him.
Permanently. Unconditionally. "It is he who made us, and we are his"
Apparently we aren't the first ones who needed
reminders of God's love. Thousands of years ago, God assured the
Israelites of the coming Redeemer and of his plan to save them
(Isaiah 49). But the Israelites weren't convinced. Though they'd
seen God's faithfulness in the past, they were desperate for a
little proof. They lamented, "The Lord has turned away and forgotten
us." (Isaiah 49:14, CEV) None of these adjustments is so different
from what everyone else goes through—it's just life. And maybe
that's part of why change is so difficult to swallow. At the core of
who we are, we long for permanence, for someone who'll never leave
us, move away, get too busy for us, grow tired of us. Someone who'll
never stop loving us.
At the time the prophet Isaiah
recorded the words "I have engraved you on the palms of my
hands."(about 2,500 years ago), it was common for pagan worshipers
to carve the name of their god into their hands. The throbbing pain
reminded them of their devotion and hopefully earned them their
god's attention. God spoke into this mixed-up religious culture—and
turned things completely upside down. Instead of asking us to prove
our love and worship, he took great pain on himself to show us his
love. And instead of demanding our sacrifice, he sent his Son to be
the sacrifice in our place. "Christ … loved us and gave himself up
for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:2).
Today it's common for people to get a tattoo
with the name of the one they currently love on their body... then
if they break up….. they often go through the painful, expensive,
and not-guaranteed removal process. Or get another tattoo to cover
it up. Thankfully, God's tattoo isn't like that. There's no chance
of a removal process, no possibility of a cross-out. He'll never get
tired of us; he'll never break off the relationship. He'll never
abandon us or leave us for someone else. And he'll never ever stop