Have you ever thought that maybe God has fogotten you? Have problems arisen and surrounded you to the point where you really wonder if God has just forgotten you and no longer remembers you or hears your cries? Some might be tempted to think I only say this from a lack of faith - or from not seeing the facts (the biblical ones) properly. But the truth is that many of God's choicest saints came to this point in their lives. In fact, I have come to the point where I am a little shocked if those who are following hard after the Lord have not experienced this.
David experiened this when he wrote, "Why O Lord do you forget me? Why O Lord do you hide Your face from me?" in the Psalms. Moses cried out to God, "Do not take us up from here unless You Yourself go with us!" Job had searchings of heart that go beyond anything any of us have experienced - and many of them had to do with whether God had left him or not. This is far from a rare experiece. In fact, the godly men and women of earlier times called these experiences, "the dark night of the soul."
What do you do in these "dark nights of the soul" so that you do not give up in your pursuit of the Lord? The main thing you do is turn to Scripture and find reassurance in the promises of God that even as He hides Himself for a period of time - He has not - nor will He forsake you.
Today I was reading in Isaiah and came upon this amazing promise.
"But you have said, 'the LORD has forsaken me, and the LORD has forgotten me.' Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold I have increibed you on the palms of my hands . . ." Isaiah 49:14-16, NASB
When God's people had wondered if God has forsaken and forgotten them, God made it clear that even if a brand new mother could forget her nursing child - He would not forget His people. What this means is that you would see all the mothers in the world forget their newborn infants before you would see God forsake and forget His people! What a wonderful promise. That means every time you look at a mother with her newborn - and note how much she loves that little baby - you can be assured that God feels similarly about you. When you see the light on at 2 or 3 in the morning because that mom is totally committed to caring for that little one - you can walk out into the night or day knowing that with an even greater commitment God cares for and loves you!
But there is an even more amazing statement made here in Isaiah 49. In verse 16 God tells us that He has "engraved" or "inscribed us on the palms of His hands. The word that God uses here for this means to cut, inscribe or pierce. How do we know that God has not forgotten or forsaken us? Literally - there are inscriptions on the hands of God Himself that will forever remind us of how much He loves us! What are those marks? They are nail prints in his hands that God chose NOT to heal as His Son, Jesus Christ, was raised from the dead. The disciples saw those glorious wounds of eternal love after He rose from the dead. Jesus told Thomas to put his fingers into those nail prints to realize that it was truly Jesus that was before him. The price of our forgiveness and salvation is forever etched into the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we ever need proof that God has not abandoned or forsaken us - all we have to do is look there. That statement - that commitment - that price that was paid - and those wounds that He bore and bears to this day - forever speak to us that He will never leave us or forsake us!
Let me close this article with the words to a hymn that we sing.
Crown Him the Lord of love
Behold His hands and side,
Those wound yet visible above
In beauty glorified.
All hail redeemer hail,
For Thou hast died for me!
Thy praise and glory shall not fail
- Matthew Bridges -
Dearest redeemed ones of God, know that He loves you! He will not forsake you - nor will He forget you! He has loved you with an everlasting love, and has drawn you to Himself with lovingkindness. He loved you long before you ever thought of even acknowledging Him. While you were yet a sinner - even in the moment when you were your very worst - Christ died for you! (Romans 5:8). His love for you is and never has been because of your performance or your level of recent obedience. You are forever graven on His hands. Those wounds - now glorified in heaven - are there not as a reminder of your shame and disgrace. They are there for the glory of God - who has loved you forever - and who will love you for an infinite number of forevers as time marches outward to the vanishing point and beyond! If you ever doubt this - just remember to look at His hands - and know and rejoice that you have been inscribed there for all eternity!