I’ll take that as a left-handed compliment. When Isaiah prompted me to try this, I hadn’t thought about how tricky it would be to write even a simple phrase with my non-dominant hand. But this will work.
Let’s get right to the inspiration. Here’s the passage:
3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
4 They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
5 Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’;
others will call themselves by the name of Jacob;
still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’
and will take the name Israel. (Is. 44:3-5)
To fully perceive the process of change, my commentary tells me, we need to see a progression. In 43:25, God promises to deal with Israel’s sin: blotting it out and remembering it no more. Then here, he pours out new life into them (44:3). And finally, we see their personal response in verse 5.
- Sin removed
- New life given
- Living it out
In Scripture, the hand is the action part of the body. So, to write God’s name on one’s hand is to bring him into every deed – not just what we think or feel, but what we do. It is to fully identify as belonging to the God who has redeemed us.
I decide to try it for a day.
Since I have no work assignments today, I’m doing a variety of household tasks. The words on my hand constantly catch my eye, nudging me back into acknowledging my commitment to him, drawing me back into prayer.
And when I leave the house to do errands, again, the message is front and center. I am keenly aware that I am not simply a man driving around town but an ambassador for the King. I am reminded of the time I left a conference in NYC, quite proud of how I had blended into the anonymity of the subway only to look down and find the name tag still plastered on my shirt: “Hi! My name is Bruce. I’m from Lewisburg!”
My back-handed message speaks to me as I write out emails, reminding me that my words, as well, flow out of my identity as the Lord’s child. Every interaction is colored by it -- even in this temporary age of disconnection, when it’s harder than ever to bridge the gaps between us.
So that later, when I call a friend dealing with cancer, I know the phrase is present even though I can’t see it. For it’s not the external reminder I need now, but the internal whispering of the Spirit (step two in the transformation process above), guiding me as to when to listen and when to speak.
I will admit, this is a bit bold for me. I’m glad this is not a tattoo. But it does make me consider how I live out my identity as a child of God, as a disciple of Jesus. It reminds me that there is nothing that I do that lies outside the range of that defining reality.
Nothing is too mundane to be touched by his Lordship.
That’s a handy truth. With or without the marker.
Lord, we are yours. We are not our own; we were bought with a price. Show us how to carry that identity with us into everything we do.
Reader: Do you have a way to remind yourself of your identity in Christ throughout the day? Tell me about it.