I have a confession….I am secretly obsessed with tattoos. Whew, that feels better. Now, when you catch me looking at yours you won’t have to wonder why you’ll just know I’m doing that thing I do, obsessing about tattoos. I look at folks’ body art and wonder about every detail; like the significance of the design and the placement they picked. How did they decide on the style of the tattoo, or the colors? I mean how in the world do you choose these things? And please don’t get me started on the pain. Everyone talks about it differently but still all will admit some is involved. The whole process just seems overwhelming to me!
I didn’t used to be like this. But over the years tattooing has become more mainstream and I can’t throw a rock without hitting a man or woman with a full sleeve so I have to wonder, “What’s the deal?” I mean this thing is permanent.
It involves needles, and pain, and did I mention needles and pain? So what drives folks to ink something into their skin forever? It’s a pretty bold statement about something in your life! I’ve seen Navy emblems, tribal designs, ocean life, and Japanese characters. If you can imagine it someone has put it on their body as an artistic expression, a description of who they are as a person, or what this life has put them through.
And I’ll admit I’ve seen some beautiful work, some really amazing, breathtaking art on skin.
However it seems a lot of people I’ve talked with regard tattoos with disdain. There’s a whole camp of people that will talk about the body being a temple and how we shouldn’t mess it up and that sort of thing. And if I’m being honest I should tell you they haven’t always been my favorite idea either. But people change. God has a way of doing that to us. He rounds off our sharp corners and changes our notions of how things should or ought to be. The truth is what’s on someone’s body isn’t really my business. It’s not there for my approval or disapproval. It’s there because they want it there. It’s there because it means something to them.
And here’s something a few of us may not have realized;
God has a tattoo.
Isaiah 49:16 says so,
“Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the
palms of my hands; …..”
According to the ancient Jewish custom the wording used as “engraved” most likely refers to their custom of using a woodblock to transfer an image to their skin and then using small needles ink would be placed just below the skin’s surface.
Your name is tattooed on God’s hand.
That’s how important you are to him. The God of the heavens is strolling around with your name on the palm of his hand. Think about that for a moment and let it sink in deeply. Your name is on his body forever.
If you’re someone with a tattoo I believe you might understand the significance of this better than those who don’t have one. You selected your art, you endured the pain, and you bear it because of your own reasons but whatever those reasons are or were they were essential to you. Essential enough to become a permanent symbol. They are a part of you that goes much deeper than the ink that lies within your skin.
For those of you who don’t have tattoos because the very thought of one makes you nervous or nauseous then perhaps you should view it like this. You are so important that God chose to display his love for you in an act that you yourself could never do. Funny how he keeps doing that, isn’t it.
I believe we live in a world determined to remind us how insignificant we are. Satan wants us to believe that no one really love us the way we long to be loved. But the truth is this, God does.
He selected your name and engraved it onto the palms of his hands as a symbol to everyone, including you that your heart lies within his heart.
You are vitally important to him.
You are his family.
So when others forget you, when friends forsake you, when the world is against you remember that the Savior has you in the palm of his hand. Literally. No one will ever love you more.
I suppose some of you might be wondering if I have some ink of my own. The straight answer is no. There is no ink on my skin, but I believe my body bears the tattoos of my maker.
My tattoos have been drawn on the inside.
My heart bears his handiwork best.
There inscribed by the Master’s hands are the names of my children; the three the specialist told us we’d never have, the one still living on another continent, and the one who went home before us. It displays the name of my husband, the man who makes all other guys fade into the background like white noise. And it has carved into it other words as well. Words like, forgiven, redeemed, and beloved; but the most amazing art he has tattooed there is his own name, Savior. An ever present reminder of the night he made it his home.
So it’s true I don’t have any art on my skin but I think that’s just because so far no human artist has convinced me that their ink will live up to his.