At the beginning of 2009, I resolved to do some things in my life as I donned this year, "How Rose Got Her Groove Back." One of those goals was to read more books. To achieve that goal, I joined a book club at a local Barnes & Noble....books and Starbucks is close to Heaven on earth for me. Although this group only meets once a month, it has been a wonderful thing for me. On the first Thursday of the month, I get all giddy preparing to go and gather with a group of sweet ladies who love to "pleasure read" as much as I do.
The books we've read have been good, but never books I'd pull off the shelf to read on my own...which was part of the reason I joined. So far I've read books about a woman from World War II Soviet Union suffering from Alzheimers and reliving her life hiding in an art gallery to edge-of-your-seat psychological thrillers. The book we just completed in March was "Burning Bright" by Tracy Chevalier, probably better known for her book turned movie "Girl With the Pearl Earring." "Burning Bright" was set in England in the 1700s and followed the lives of some young people who encountered the poet William Blake. It was light on plot but heavy on character development. It wouldn't make my top ten list, but it was a good book. But, there was one line in the book that has stuck with me, most likely not at all due to the author's intentions.
Throughout the book, many artisans are featured - woodcarvers, button makers - and an engraver. In one of the conversations the engraver had, he explained his expertise in the art. "An engraver must be able to see an image from all perspectives. We have to visualize the engraving in the correct image, as it would appear on the piece, then create and engrave that image in reverse for the production to come out right." That immediately reminded me of this verse...
"Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands" - Isaiah 49:16
I've always loved this verse. But after reading the mastercraft of an engraver, it becomes so much richer. Hands are such a symbol of protection. Your parents grabbed your hand in public as a child to make sure you were by their side. Secret treasures are hidden away in your tightly closed hand. When you need a help up, a friend grabs your hand. A man sweetly holds the hand of the one he loves to assure her he is by her side always.
Through His sacrifice on the cross, Christ took on our sins in the palms of His hands. And, etched within those scars is my name. Sinful and wretched. Yet loved and cherished. He died for me. But more than that, He rose again and lives so that I may live eternally. As the Master Engraver, He sees my life from all perspectives.....backwards, forwards, reverse....He knows my yesterdays, todays and tomorrows. Only an Artisan of that level can hold my life in the palms of His Hands.