You Are Not Forgotten

For the past week I've had these words written on the little white board right below my computer monitor:  "You are not forgotten: Isaiah 49." 

I wrote the words down after I read Isaiah 49 the other day, and I've been thinking about them ever since--wondering when I might decide to reflect on them here. 

Isaiah 49 is part of a larger prophecy about the return of the Hebrew people to Jerusalem out of their exile in Babylon.  The words are meant to comfort, to provide hope to a people who feel as though they have been abandoned by God.
14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me,
    the Lord has forgotten me.”
In the prophecy, the people speak these poignant and heartbreaking words--the kinds of words that so many of us have spoken during hardship and trial. 

But then there is this response from God in return:
15 “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! 16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; 
Those of us who follow Jesus, and often see Christ in the prophetic words of the Hebrew prophets, can easily see the beautiful imagery here of the wounds Jesus bore in the palms of his hands.  

They serve as signs and symbols of how far God is willing to go in love to reach us, restore us, resurrect us and remind us over and again that we are not forgotten.  

The prophet tells the people who have been living in the darkness of exile that it is an impossibility for God to forget them, to abandon them.  It won't happen.  God's love is forever with them, and in them.  

There's a short poem by r.h. Sin that I recently read that speaks to me this morning as I reflect on this:  
In you lives a love
that most people won't be able
to comprehend.
When we are in the depths of despair, loss, grief, lostness, trial and tribulation, it can seem incomprehensible that we are not forgotten---because it feels that way.  

But the love of God is engraved on Jesus' hands... and feet... and side... and brow... These wounds are not meant to shame us, degrade us, make us feel beholden and guilty.  

They are meant to remind us that God could never... ever forget us, or leave us alone.  God is constantly reminded of God's own love through what is "engraved" on God's hands.

May these words give you peace and comfort.  May you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you could never be forgotten.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.    


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