engraved on the palm of God’s hand
At The Sky Hook Motel in Mitchell, Oregon, there was part of a Scripture verse in a picture frame on the wall. It brought to mind a memory.
“…I have engraved you on the palms of my hands….”
The verse is about how much God loves Jerusalem and the people of Jerusalem. In the immediate context the comparison is with a woman who can’t forget her own baby. Just so, God will never forget God’s own sons and daughters.
Two or three winters ago we had a fierce ice storm in the Northeastern USA. I was alone. D was on a business trip. Smudge was with me—still a young kitty.
When the storm hit that night, I lay awake listening to the wind and the explosions as trees snapped and crashed to the ground under the weight of ice.
The next morning our electricity went off half an hour after I got up. Shortly after that my landline went dead. And then my cell phone battery gave up. I’d gotten one call out before I heard that nasty beep from my cell phone.
D was out of town for the week. So was our son who lives half hour away. I had hot water but no electricity to pump it through the radiators. Also no oven and no refrigerator.
I looked out the windows. Our house was surrounded by downed branches covered with ice. The front and back porches were sheets of ice littered with iced tree and shrub branches. I couldn’t open the front storm door. Everything was coated with ice and frozen debris.
I got out our small camping stove, had breakfast and rigged up a warm bed for Smudge. He loved it. Just looking at it made me feel better.
Then I got out our little travel radio. At least I could hear the weather forecast, news, and music. I read, sang, marched around the house and up and down the stairs, listening and waiting.
Waiting for what? Definitely for the electricity to come back on. Beyond that, I don’t even know. No one was living in the house on one side. The woman on the other side was my age and not as healthy as I.
We live at the end of an electrical power grid. Historically, we’ve been the last in our area to get power back. By the 3rd day I could see that just two or three blocks away the electric power was on again. But not in our house or others in our neighborhood.
The 4th and 5th days were the pits. Temperature falling in the house. No sign of melting anywhere. I kept marching around the house, up and down the stairs, and opened the window shades to let in every possible ray of winter sun.
Food wasn’t a problem, but I wasn’t sure how much propane was left in the canister. I felt forgotten, if not forsaken. Fear started nibbling away at me. So this is how it feels to be older, in need and abandoned.
Late in the afternoon on the 5th day, via circumstances I never would have imagined, two friends came to my front door within minutes of each other. I was ecstatic and relieved!
By the end of that day our son, who flew back into Philly that evening, had picked up the two of us (Smudge and me) and taken us to his house.
Now, when I hear the words ‘God-forsaken’ I think of that ice storm. God didn’t forsake me, but it felt that way, as I told God more than once.
My only hope in life and in death is that God has engraved me, not just my name, on the palm of God’s own hand. God
will not cannot forget or forsake me.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 4 November 2015
Image from internetcafedevotions.com