“Of course, it was painful!”
“Sharp and continuous from beginning to end– for twenty minutes. And worth every minute of it,” Ahnna, our granddaughter adamantly confirmed of her recent tattoo on the back of her right arm. She has joined the ranks of a quarter of the U.S. population ages 18-50 making a statement with a unique tattoo.
Once thought of as a deviant behavior during the Hippie movement, today, a tattoo adorning a place on the body, is an acceptable form of expression. In fact, it was the movement of the 1960’s that ushered in this somewhat lost art form of past decades.
The method of marking skin with colored ink and pigment is a centuries’ old tradition in most cultures. There is evidence of mummified bodies with tattoos dating to the third and fourth centuries BC. Chinese marked their criminals; ancient Egyptians used tattooing as a method of healing. Other cultures have used it in religious worship. Early ship owners carrying slaves to America painted them for identification should they escape. In the earlier centuries, the skin was cut, and pigment was rubbed into the raw areas.
Tattooing is the latest form of “outsider art” to rock the world of fine art. And today the global tattoo industry is well over 50 billion dollars annually and growing rapidly.
And then one day, I discovered I was tattooed!
Permanent markings of abuse, divorce, rejection and unforgivingness stained my early years. I was never quite certain of my parents’ unconditional love. Even though I was loved fully and completely by Tom, the insecurities of my family of origin haunted me even into my 40’s. Those cuts were painted dark.
I remember the quiet morning, reading in Isaiah. Suddenly the entire room exploded in a soft brightness. I had just read verses 15 and 16 of Chapter 49. “Can a woman forget her nursing child that she should not have compassion on the daughter of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet will I not forget you. . . behold, I have engraved you, indelibly imprinted (tattooed) a picture on the palm of each of my hands.” Amplified
What an absolutely astounding declaration of love!
Surely I had read that passage before. Isaiah is assuring the children of Israel that the Lord God will indeed never forget them after being in captivity in Babylon for seventy years. But these words were personal this day, a promise for me. I quickly read those verses in every translation I had in the house. Sobbing, I was certain my name and picture were tattooed on my Lord’s palms.
The process of multitudes of tiny needles piercing the epidermis into the dermis is more painful on the palms. Tattoo artists often try to dissuade a client from having one drawn there. After all, the skin is pricked between 50 and 3,000 times per minute by the needles during this process.
Easter is coming. . .
. . . the season we ponder the way and the reason we are given new life– the whys. Roman crucifixion was gruesome and excruciating; Jesus willingly stretched out his hands on the cross while the nails were driven, and my name was engraved. Oh, the pain . . .
We can suggest this is all figurative language written long ago; I prefer to believe the promise given me. I can see my face tattooed here on His hand. Can you see yours? The disciple Thomas made his boast that he would not believe Jesus had arisen from the tomb unless he could “put his finger where the nails were.” John 20:25. Jesus tells Thomas (verse 27), “put your finger here, see my hands . . . stop doubting and believe.”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son; that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3: 16
Always on his palms–forever in His heart,
. . . tattooed . . . NOW. . .