[Feb 10]--Forgotten

Isaiah 49:13-16

            All right, I have a confession to make. When the Lord was handing out short-term memory, I think I was in line for something else. As I write this, I currently have a smartphone which is specifically designed for people like me. It makes it easy for me to make a quick voice memo, schedule an appointment with someone, make a task list, etc. Otherwise, I'd be lost. LOST, I tell you. I can remember things like what happened when the X-Men encountered Magneto for the first time in the comic books, and I can remember some of the best lines from movies, but I can very easily forget to call my Mom back after she leaves a voicemail. Yes, I’ve done that.
            Now I know that—assuming that your theology is correct—you believe in the omniscience of the Almighty. That means he knows everything that ever was and is and ever will be about everything in all of creation. He knows how many atoms make up a hair on my head, and he knows the exact orbit of the Alpha Centauri binary star system.
            You also know, or should, that the only thing that could be said to be forgotten by God are our sins. Once we believe in Christ, our sins are covered by his blood and forgiven and forgotten, never to be brought against us again.
            But in your heart, where no one else can hear it, do you think you’re forgotten by him? Or rather, do you feel like you’re forgotten by him? Do you feel like he’s abandoned you? Like he doesn’t really know about what you’re going through, or doesn’t care?
            Sure, he cares about the movements of nations and presidents and kings and tyrants. Certainly he’s totally involved in an epic war with Satan for the souls of men. But does he really care about the problems in my marriage? Does he really care that I’ve been unemployed for so long? Does he really care about the out-of-control child in my house?
            Yes. Yes, he does. Today’s passage was written with you in mind. When the Holy Spirit was inspiring Isaiah to write these words, he was writing them for you. Specifically.
            Of course, he was writing them first to the exiles of Israel. They'd been invaded by a foreign power and ground into dust. His armies had sacked their homes, murdered thousands of people, and now was forcibly hauling them into another country. Just like you, they would've found it easy to feel like the God of Israel had forgotten, or that he didn’t care.
            In this passage, the Lord argues from the lesser to the greater. Consider a mother with her child. As Dave Barry once said, fathers and mothers are very different in the way they regard children. A mother tends to know everything about her kids: How they’re doing in school, how many pairs of underwear they have left in a drawer, who they like and want to go out with, their hopes and dreams and fears, etc. A father, on the other hand, is vaguely aware that there are some short people who live in the same house with him.
            But every once in a while we hear of an exception. I live in Texas, and a few years ago it seemed like there was a rash of mothers who were in such a hurry to get to where they were going that they did the unthinkable. I remember one in particular: She completely forgot about the child in the back seat behind her. She left her child in the car, and found him later cooked in the heat.
            But why did that make news? Because it’s rare. The vast vast vast majority of mothers are thinking about their children all the time and are always concerned about their safety. But God here says “Even if she were to forget, I would never forget about you.
            He says that he's engraved the names of his beloved people on the palms of his hands. I tend to make a quick note on my phone to remember it later. But he says he's engraved my name on his hand. This isn’t for his sake, because he'd never forget me with or without it. It’s not for his sake—It’s for mine. He wants me to know that I'm always on his mind, always in his thoughts, always under his watchful care.
And if you’re one of his children, the same goes for you.

Father, thank you. I hear your voice right now, telling me “I’m here.”

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