When I got my first iPhone with beta facial recognition, I remember asking the sales associate whether I would need to remove my glasses when setting it up. (Remember when you actually went to a store to purchase a phone?) He graciously smiled and eagerly answered, "Oh no. You don't have to remove your glasses. It recognizes you even when you are wearing them!"
Months later, when I got a new pair of eyeglass frames that were a significantly different style, the question arose again. "Will I be recognized by my phone?" The answer, of course, was "Yes, no problem!"
A few years later when the hospital where I worked began to require masks, I wondered again, "Will the facial recognition on my phone be able to identify me?" The answer, after an iOS update or two later, was an astounding, "Yes. You don't have to remove your mask to be recognized."
Now that technology has expanded to practically every app that I use, I haven't thought much about facial recognition. That is until I recently started using a CPAP machine.
The first night, a bit keyed up from the setup, I was not particularly sleepy. So, I put on the air mask, laid on my back, and grabbed my phone to play a couple of rounds of Words with Friends.
Tilting the screen toward me, I discovered that the facial recognition feature did not work. I angled the phone a little more to no avail. "Duh," I thought. "It doesn't recognize me with my CPAP mask on."
As I reflected on that experience, my heart was flooded with gratitude that God always recognizes me. No matter what "masks" I have put on, no matter where I've been, and regardless of what I have done... or what has been done to me, God still recognizes me.
In the book of Isaiah, God asks a question and then makes an incredible declaration. "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me" [Isaiah 49:15-16]. Hear the good news, beloved! God will not forget you. You are inscribed on God's hands. You are always recognized.
And if you are having trouble believing that, or perhaps even feeling invisible, would you allow the testimony of the Psalmist to whisper these words of assurance? "Oh Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I'm far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand" [Pslam 139:1-6].
Precious one, you are seen. You are heard. And you are loved. Relentlessly, passionately, and eternally. Amen.
Some seasons in our journey of faith are characterized more by unlearning than learning. If there are judgments and vows of invisibility, worthlessness, and uselessness, I invite you to allow this song to be a starting place in learning to replace lies with Truth. Indeed, you are "Inscribed."
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