Martin Wiles

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." Isaiah 49:16 NIV

The pages revealed whose it was and under what circumstances.

Mom received a call from her niece in Sumter. Mom’s sister had recently died, and the family had cleaned out her house in Vance. They discovered some things that might be of interest to Mom. Though never a lover of old or sentimental things — at least, not if it meant storing them — Mom took them. If nothing else, she could pass them along to me, or one of my brothers.

The items included four funeral home books for deceased relatives, newspaper clippings, family pictures and two Bibles — both of which had my aunt’s name handwritten inside, along with who gave it to her and when. One of the two had her name engraved on the outside.

After peeking to see who gave her the Bible, I wasn’t surprised by the engraving on the outside. When I was 8 years old, Mom and Dad — and I — had given my aunt the Bible for her birthday. Dad followed this pattern of engraving a name on the outside of a Bible his entire lifetime. Every Bible he ever owned — and that was a multitude — he had his name engraved on. The inside page with the handwritten name might be lost, scratched out beyond recognition, or torn out, but the name on the outside would remain. It was his Bible.

The nation of Israel needed reassurance. They had a habit of disobeying God, and God had a habit of chastising them. But better days were in store because they repented. They would once again return to their homeland.

Life is tough and filled with bitter disappointments. To me — just as He said to Israel — God says I’m engraved on His hand. No one can steal me from His grip or scratch out the fact that I belong to Him. Unwise decisions and sinful actions will bring His discipline, but the engraving stands. Willful, occasional sin may slightly obscure my name, but I’m still God’s child, and confession will once again bring out the brilliance of the engraving.

And when it appears as if God has forsaken me, He has His ways of showing me the engraving and reminding me I still belong to Him. My name’s engraved on His hand. And so is yours if you’ve invited Jesus into your life.

Don’t fear life or the things it brings. Your name is engraved on the Father’s hand. He is loving, kind, gentle and more powerful than anything the world can throw your way.

Martin Wiles is managing editor of Christian Devotions, assistant editor of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and author of "Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church" and "Grits & Grace & God." His work is featured at thttp://lovelinesfromgod.blogspot.com/.

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