Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me –
Israel was facing captivity and hardship and had succumbed to the temptation that God had forgotten them. God had not stopped loving them even in the face of their rebellion and disobedience. Even though they had abandoned God in so many ways, God had been faithful to His people. That is the struggle of their claim of verse 14, “But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me.” God’s response to this is powerful. Despite the feelings of helplessness, abandonment, futility and disappointment, which Israel had brought upon themselves, God was still there and promised every opportunity for reconciliation.
There are times in our life that we think God has forgotten us. Usually it revolves around profound disappointment or even disastrous things that have changed the trajectory of our lives. These are often moments with overwhelming feelings of failure. Regardless if we believe these moments of crisis were the result of personal choices, or they were the victims of circumstance, the result is often the same, we question God’s goodness and provision.
I am constantly reminded that the larger story is about God and not about us. Isaiah speaks about a magnificent servant, the Messiah, who will fulfill all that God had hoped Israel would be and do. His servant will execute God’s purpose with exacting precision, unswerving faithfulness, and absolute devotion. This Servant will fulfill God’s purpose to glorify Him even in a broken world.
Sometimes we do not see the bigger picture of God’s purpose. This is not because it is hidden, but we often do not pay attention to it. Our world often shrinks to the size of our own perspective, often crushed by the circumstances of life. We become myopic and to some degree, self-centered. We begin feeling overwhelmed in our own little world and we lose touch with the God who cares about us. We grow impatient, frustrated, and confused because we thought we were doing all the right things to please God.
Those moments seem inevitable in life. It is hard to believe that anyone who steps out of their front door on any regular basis will not face challenges and trials that are more than they can handle. The benefit is that we start searching for the larger story of God to make sense of the confusion of my smaller world. That can often be a struggle because it can be confusing. But we ought to take to heart in the statements that God made to Israel: God can no more forget his people than a mother can forget her child. Even if a mother could forget, God says he will never forget his children. That statement ought to bring some encouragement to us.
We live in uncertain times, and for many of us these are circumstantial, not choices we have made to abandon God. He loves us and has us “inscribed us into his hand” which (of course) is a metaphorical statement to indicate that forgetting us is impossible with God. We are forever on his mind.
We live in times where we need to be reminded that God will not forget us; we will always be the objects of His loyal love and that ought to bring a deep sense of peace and security to our hearts and minds.
While we may struggle with life, nothing catches God off guard. We are greatly loved. When we stumble over our emotional tripwires, we need to know that He is always there to catch us and walk with us in the journey. May you gain much encouragement knowing that God never forgets us.