Listen to this devotional:
Isaiah 49:16 – See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. (NIV)
Going down a road I had not travelled before, I came across an old, old cemetery. For some reason, I like to walk through cemeteries and read the headstones. Some who are reading this may think this strange, but it's just that no-one is there anymore. Only their memories remain, and in some cases, not even their names.
As I walked through this particular graveyard, I glanced at the engravings. I looked at the dates, trying to break the century mark, but 1909 was the oldest marker I found in this cemetery. Perhaps there was an older cemetery in another part of town. There seemed to be a lack of messages on the headstones. In other places, I often find a few words that describe a life, or even the standard, "Gone but not forgotten".
In one section of the cemetery, there was just a rusted metal stake with a little framed window attached. The frame reminded me of the tags attached to luggage, where a card can be slipped behind the clear plastic with the owner's name and address on it. Here though, instead of plastic, it was glass, and whatever had once been written there had turned cloudy or disappeared altogether, worn down over the years by the elements. I am sure that somewhere there is a list of plots, so one can look up who's buried there, but today, I simply passed by a nameless grave. How sad it is to be in a nameless grave!
How glad I am that no-one is nameless in heaven. No-one will ever be forgotten. As we look into our guidebook of faith, we see that names are important to God. The prophet Isaiah reminds us of this in today's Scripture verse, when he speaks forth the Lord's words, saying, "See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands." God knows each one of us by name, even those with rusted, cloudy nametags in an old cemetery in Massachusetts. Further, the best news we must remember as we continue our journey of faith each day is that if we have made the choice to be washed clean by Jesus, the Lamb of God, and choose each day to walk by faith till the day our journey brings us home, our names are written down in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Prayer: Dear God, thanks for writing our names on the palms of Your hands so that You will never forget us. May we in turn write Your name on the palms of our hands so that we do not forget You as we face the challenges that come through walking by faith in a world where some have forgotten Your name. Thanks for remembering who we are and for calling us to be Your children. Amen.
[Adapted from a "Catch of the Day" devotional in The Fischtank].