Who Loves You, Baby?

During a recent spell of insomnia, I watched an episode of late night local television, first broadcast as a network show in the 1970’s. It was a crime drama, starring Telly Savalas as a bald Greek detective in New York City. He sucked on a lollipop and wore what were at the time highly fashionable clothes, though watching it now, 40 years later, I see how loud,  tacky and in what bad taste they were. (Shudder!)

The show, as those of my Baby Boomer generation (and classic TV fans) know, was called “Kojak.” And it was Telly Savalas’ Kojak character’s signature line with which I named this post.

I thought about it because while on break at work today, my eyes fell on a small poster in my cubicle. It came to me as an insert from our church’s bulletin, advertising some program for children and families on its other side. On the side facing me, it shows a photo of a sleeping baby, and says,

I have engraved your name on the palms of My hands.

Isaiah 49: 16

Who loves you, Baby? If we are fortunate in life, we are raised by good, loving parents, and have loving extended families. But some of us don’t get such a fortunate start. Some are loved by teachers, or coaches. For others, the process of finding love is more difficult.

Studies have shown if children are failed to be nurtured at critical times in their development, their personalities and characters may likely become warped. If children are nurtured with evil intentions, or by someone who is incapable or unfit, the potentiality of warping becomes exponentially more likely. It is from situations like these our society most often gets its sociopaths.

Many of us seek love in a life partner, and raising a family of our own. But if our society’s over 50% divorce rate is any indicator, a lot of people are not having much success in finding lasting love in long-term partnerships, let alone marriage. Marriage, as I’ve said before, takes work. Lots of work. And if the divorce rate says anything, either many people are unwilling to do the work, or they  don’t know how where to start. {See my post,On Being Married 32 Years (And Counting) for some thoughts on that.}

Which brings me back to those ancient words,

I have engraved your name on the palms of My hands.

Isaiah 49: 16

The One who spoke these words was God. In this context, He was speaking to people who believed He no longer loved them, that He’d given up on them because of the wrong things they’d done, and their people had done for many years.

Just stop for a moment and absorb those words. Think about how much love is in them. Think about how much love it would take to physically carve someone’s name in the palm of your hand, how much pain you would have to go through, how long it would take to heal. This is the language of a tattoo, a permanent mark.

Hands are some of the most sensitive parts of the organ of our bodies we call our skin. Fingertips and the heels of the hands can become callused from use, but palms are protected, and tend to not acquire them. Even when the skin of the rest of the hand is rough from exposure to chemicals or the elements, the protected palms tend to stay soft and tender longest. It is the place where we shelter small things and hold them carefully. And it is this part of Himself on which God is saying He has tattooed these names.

But do you know what the best part is? It’s not just the name of the people of that time tattooed there. It’s also ours, yours and mine. Because one of the most lovely things about God’s words is His truths never change. His love never ends. The love He showed in these words for one people is the same love He has for all people.

So, I return to my original question: Who loves you, Baby? Isaiah recorded your answer. The God of Creation, the One who holds all things in His hands, loves you. And when you realize you are loved like that, it’s easy to love others, and the love for and from anyone else becomes a reflection of the love shown you by God Himself.

2 thoughts on “Who Loves You, Baby?

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