Monday, December 12, 2016

The Heart of Christmas: We Are Not Forgotten

The Christmas season is a time when family and friends gather to celebrate the love of God and their love for one another. Many people, however, spend the season alone. 

It's heartbreaking to feel forgotten at Christmas.

I know a little about that, because I've spent a few Christmases alone. During my residency, I often worked the holiday for the extra income I desperately needed. Since I was single, it was easier for me to work than for those with children. 

My family always accommodated my work schedule, and we always celebrated at a different time. The holiday, spent with desperately ill people who had delayed seeking medical treatment until they couldn't wait anymore, was still a lonely one. I wasn't forgotten, of course, but a part of me still felt like it.

That's how God's people felt. They weren't forgotten, but they felt like they were.

Hard days were ahead for Jerusalem, Isaiah said. The people had sinned in terrible ways. They had built shrines for false gods and worshipped at them. Mingled idol worship with the worship of Almighty God. Sacrificed their children to the idols, literally burned them alive. 

God's people equated material blessings and prosperity with the favor of God.They failed to recognize that his discipline was a sign of His great love for them. He disciplined with the goal of heart-change, not merely suffering. He would watch with eager anticipation to see that the hard times accomplished the work of repentance. 

When judgment and discipline arrived, they would bring sheer agony. God knew it would be a terrible period in the history of Israel, and He anticipated their discouragement and depression.The people of Zion (or Jerusalem) would say, "The Lord has forsaken me... forgotten me." (Isaiah 49:14)

"Not true," God said. "I will never forget you." (Is. 49:15 - Leanna Paraphrase)

"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 inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me."
Isaiah 49:15-16 nasb

Our Lord cannot forget His people because they're inscribed on the palms of His nail-scarred hands. A constant reminder of all those He purchased at Calvary. 

Savor this for a moment:

We are never forgotten. Always known. Always loved. Always remembered.

No matter how lonely, forgotten, or discouraged we feel, God cannot forget us. He has not forgotten us. When we call to Him, He hears. Responds. Loves.

Take heart today, child of God. 

We may forget Him, but He never forgets us. We may abandon Him, but He never abandon us. His nail-scarred hands serve as a constant reminder of the rebellious children who were redeemed, bought back from the slavery of sin, on Calvary's cross.

We are remembered, and we are loved.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Blessing of Desolation and Barrenness

If God leads you to help support this ministry, (prayer and outreach, both digital and in-person) you can use this link: Support Leanna's Ministry (use account #4841)
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