God’s tattoo

What does it mean that we’re “graven” on the “palms of [God’s] hands,” as the Bible says? Realizing that God’s love for us is constant and permanent has powerful healing impact.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
Loading the player...

Several of my family members have tattoos commemorating a special person or occasion that is meaningful to them. Generally speaking, tattoos are permanent, so to me these commemorative graphics represent the idea of a love or reverence that remains constant always.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the idea that God has a tattoo. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah recounts God’s words, “I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:16). Sounds like a tattoo to me! Of course, God does not have physical hands, nor is anything “inked” upon the Divine Being. But this verse points to how consistently, constantly, and permanently God, Spirit, loves and values each of us as God’s spiritual offspring.

I like to think of the Bible as one big love letter from God to us. Here are a few snippets: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3, New Living Translation). “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. ... Do not be afraid, for I am with you” (Isaiah 43:2, 5, NLT).

These are not empty words; God’s love is powerful and healing. In the Old Testament God’s provision and care were evident when a woman’s food supply didn’t run out during a drought (see I Kings 17), when someone with a chronic skin disease was healed (see II Kings 5), and when a plot to murder someone was foiled and a corrupt government reformed (see Daniel 6).

God’s love was amplified with the arrival of the Messiah, Christ Jesus, God’s beloved Son, as conveyed in the New Testament. Jesus brought to all the message that the kingdom of heaven is indeed already here – that is, God-established harmony and health are present and operative. And we can daily experience more of that by welcoming God’s powerful love into our lives.

Jesus proved this by healing difficulties of all types. He knew illness, unhappiness, jealousy, or hatred could not be sent from God, who is all good. Those things have no foundation in God, divine Truth, and therefore have no legitimate source. We can be freed from their grip through the realization that God, infinite Love itself, is always present and unchanging.

I experienced this one evening when I was in college. Some friends and I had taken a road trip to attend a house party at a predominantly men’s college a couple hundred miles away. While the evening started off happily enough, the event soon devolved into a chaotic and unsettling situation.

At one point, I walked outside and strolled around the tree-lined campus, mentally reaching out to God for a message of love. Many of the passages I had learned in Christian Science Sunday School came to mind. I felt embraced in my Father-Mother God’s love and promise of peace and fulfillment.

A little poem written by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, came to mind:

Father-Mother good, lovingly
Thee I seek, –
Patient, meek,
In the way Thou hast, –
Be it slow or fast,
Up to Thee.
(“Poems,” p. 69)

This helped me realize that while I had come to the party hoping to find companionship, what would most enhance my life and complete my joy was a better understanding of my closeness to God, the divine Love that provides everything we need. I saw that this growing understanding might come “fast” or it might be more “slow,” but as we earnestly seek God we realize that we are already whole.

I couldn’t help but feel God’s sweet presence and enormous tenderness. My thought was flooded with the realization of how much God cherished me right there and then. That feeling of divine grace was uplifting and freeing. I felt a deep, quiet contentment that stayed with me long after that evening. And it was not too many months later that I met someone very special.

Any time you are feeling down, you can remember that God has you – yes, you – engraved on the palm of His, Her, hand, never to be forgotten, forsaken, or left behind. And as you open your heart to feel that powerful love, you can hear your divine Father-Mother God’s powerfully healing assurance, “Do not be afraid. ... I have called you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1, NLT).

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to God’s tattoo
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today