The stoutest of faiths will occasionally experience the deepest of shaking. Over and over again the Scripture magnifies the holiness of our Supreme God. He is the merciful and loving Father, The Almighty, unblemished in His nature, never-failing, inseparable from His holy love, compassionate yet just, lavish in grace, steadfast in patience, and perfect in all His purpose. We, on the other hand, are embarrassingly shown to be the opposite in Scripture: selfish, fearful, deceived and deceiving. We are unapologetically categorized as dead in sin, defiled in motive, disqualified in character and decrepit on our own. We are shallow and straying and sinful and soiled; unholy, unloving, unworthy, ungodly, unmoved and undone. What is one to think about this great gulf fixed between man and His God?
“But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.’ Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” -Isaiah 49:14-15
Though we are marred in our depravity, in a fixed moment in time, we were graciously awakened unto the glorious good news of the Person and purpose of Jesus Christ. We have been made alive in faith and have heard our own voices calling out upon this One named Jesus whom we have never seen. In that grand moment of our salvation we wanted nothing more in this world and counted life up to that point as a filthy garment fit for nothing but discarding. We wanted Him! It was not that we found Him for He was never the one who went astray! Yet, when He found us, it seemed to us that we had found Him because we become overwhelmingly aware that we had been looking in the wrong places for the very effects that He then gave to us in Himself. We had searched amiss only to be tracked by His astounding grace and to be caught by His loving rescue as He secured us in His eternal salvation. We have been redeemed. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Yet, in all of our confidence that it is now well with our soul, are we not prone to regular shaking? Whether it is the pressure of this life, the up-and-down frailty of our responding commitment to Him, the unpredictability of circumstance, the aggression of our enemies or the awareness of our unworthiness…Christians are subject to bouts with doubts. It is in these moments that too much of our trust has been mistakenly transferred upon an object unworthy of its weight. Misplaced confidences ultimately betray us. Money will not sustain us, but we worry when the funds run low. Our physical bodies were born to die, allowing for our escape to Heaven one day, yet we cringe as it becomes increasingly clear that our earthly tabernacles will fold up someday. Our enemies should be under our Father’s foot yet they seem, at times, to even be aided by His hand as judgment of them is deferred while mistreatment finds us for yet another day. The preacher speaks to us of the good life, the blessed path, the anointed way and all of its Heavenly endowments…yet we sit in church with others who smile as we hope they do not notice that we are not experiencing what the man in the pulpit declares. Doubt accuses us of being a phony because we struggle to believe what God has said to us. We have wondered if others are immune to these soul-conflicts. Let me answer that question for you: none of us are immune from the challenge but many have overcome it.
Doubts: Perhaps God has forgotten you. Perhaps He failed to clarify some undefined boundary you crossed. Worse yet, perhaps He has learned how weak and vacillating you are and chosen to move on to others who do not struggle as you do. Your theology tells you that He is your sole constant…but your current experience questions even that.
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”
Every mother knows the impossibility of resisting that inner urge to meet the need of her helpless, hungry baby. Simply put, it is deeply woven into her nature to meet that child’s need. It is not simply that she HAS TO…it is that she LONGS TO. Christian friend, God is not incidentally committed to you. He has powerfully obligated Himself to you according to His compassionate and loving paternity. He is your Shepherd, you are His lamb. He is your King, you are His citizen. God Almighty is your Father and, though your earthly father may have miserably failed you, God is not him and He wants you to remember that you are His child. Do not slight Him today by being suspicious of His goodness. Do not deny Him your praise by doubting His current plan. You can magnify Him in what you do know and what you have learned and what you choose to believe. You may trust Him tenaciously with all of the unknowns of your life today and sing a new song of Him in spite of the high hills around you which cast long shadows. You must defy your doubts by building an altar of certain praise. Despite the resistance, worship your Father and bow before His glistening throne as one who has been eternally won to His heart of grace.
Him…forget you? Never.
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