By Allen Teal, chaplain
Rolla Presbyterian Manor
“But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me. 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 49:14-16, NIV).
Was it very good? Was it really bad? These are the two extremes of life that we usually remember best. Unfortunately, the bulk of our lives is not lived in the best times and worst times. Our experiences tend to fall somewhere in between. If we eavesdrop at a family reunion, we discover that conversations travel over miles of mundane roads that were travelled together. We do not bond with our friends and loved ones during memorable extremes, but we bond over the common parts of our lives both good and bad that were shared.
People want to be remembered.
Difficult times can bring a sense of being forgotten. In Isaiah 49, Israel complained that God had forgotten them. It is easy to identify with this feeling. Anger, depression, and loneliness often accompany notion. At times like this, others, including God, are blamed for our situation.
Too often, our memory is the one at fault.
We forget that others may not be aware of our problems. We also fail to ask for help. Over the years, I have had many people come to me as their pastor to complain about getting no help from family and friends. In nearly every case, family and friends gave the help when they were made aware of the need.
In response, God offered two strong comparisons to assure them that they were not forgotten. First, he paints the picture of an infant being nursed by its mother. A mother so close to her child will always remember. God says that even if such a mother could forget her child, he will never forget. To further reinforce this idea, God tells his people that he has tattooed their image or name on the palms of his hands. This indelible mark reminds us of how important we are to God.
No matter what you face or how bad it seems, God will not forget you or ignore what happens in your life. If we build our relationship with God as we do with our family during the uneventful times, we can be assured that he will always be there for us in the big moments.