Recommended Reading: Psalm 13:1–6; John 20:24–28; Romans 8:35–39
For whatever reason, from the time they’re little boys guys like to show off their scars. A polite conversation with any average group of guys can suddenly turn into some bizarre, male-bonding ritual. First someone tells a story about crashing his mountain bike and the resulting scar on his knee. Then another guy regales the group about the scar left from his shoulder surgery. Another points out the scar on his hand and tells about his hunting-knife accident. Before you know it, the whole group is showing off their scars and relating the incidents behind the wounds.
Today’s passage tells us that God likes to do this as well—not to one-up anyone else with another great story but to reassure us of his devotion to his people.
In truth, there is something interesting about scars: They follow us wherever we go, and the stories behind them remind us of significant people and events in our lives.
The people of Israel had certainly wandered all over the place—both physically and spiritually. After the nation had faced devastation, occupation and deportation by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian armies, the people of Israel wondered, “God, have you forgotten us?” God answered through the prophet Isaiah: “I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15–16).
Did you know that God bears a scar on his hand in the shape of your picture? Of course, because God is a spirit, he doesn’t have a literal hand. But you’re so present on God’s mind that it’s as though he has engraved your image on the palms of his hands.
Perhaps the fury of whatever storm you’re facing dims God’s voice and blurs his presence. You might ask, “God, have you forgotten me?” How can he be present in the midst of your turmoil? But regardless of the storm’s intensity, you remain in the forefront of God’s thoughts. He’s thinking of you, sustaining you, comforting you, giving you strength. He doesn’t mentally check out. Whatever challenge you’re facing isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you. The worst that could happen would be for God to forget about you.
But he hasn’t yet, and he never will.