“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 )
When our children were small, just born, they slept in a bassinet next to my bed. This was their place to sleep for the first few months of their lives. Even if I would have somehow forgotten them, I would be reminded because they were right there beside me. When they needed something during the night, they would cry right there beside me. Couldn’t forget them there. When I got up in the morning, right there they would be. In our small apartments you could not walk far from the bedroom, and so were never far from them. Really, it was like they were constantly there. And as a new mother, that is the way I wanted it.
So when this passage compares that kind of devotion between mother and child as less then the devotion God has for the Lord’s children, you know that God is utterly and completely devoted.
While I do not have a tattoo myself, I understand that once you get one, they are intended to be permanent. To have one removed means an even more painful process than the original application. And there will be some scarring left behind as a reminder of where the tattoo was. People who get tattoos consider them to be a permanent part of themselves.
So when this passage compares the lessor kind of commitment and attachment to a tattoo to remembering us by our being engraved on the Lord’s hands, you know that God is utterly and completely devoted.
For many years I carried around in my wallet pictures of my children as they were going up. I had pictures of them from each stage of their lives. Of course, having three children who had school pictures taken each year, it added up to a lot of pictures. Eventually I had to start pruning my wallet of pictures. But I carry the image of them as they grew in my mind and in my heart.
So when this passage compares that kind of memory and imagining that is lessor to God’s infinite memory, you know that God is utterly and completely devoted.
I think we are often like Zion, believing that God is faraway and has forgotten us. We think of God’s love and devotion according to human terms and norms. We think that because we have difficulties and suffer that God has turned away from us. Admittedly it is hard to keep hoping against hope when all things seem against you. It is what the Anabaptists faced, and many Christians since then. The season of Advent and Christmas is a time of renewing hope, and remembering God’s promises. Christ came as a human but also came because and with God’s love. A living reminder of God’s continued memory of us.
May you this season remember that God has never forgotten us. Selah!