I remember we were at a competition. Though we had put in a lot of effort, we were losing. So, I looked up and prayed. We still bombed. Did God care?
Isaiah 49:1-13 talks about many wonderful things coming—Salvation to the ends of the earth, land restored, captives freed, and hunger and thirst eliminated. Finally, even heavens and earth would rejoice.
The chapter also talks about Israel would be brought back. But, Zion, representing Israel, with its temple destroyed, still felt forsaken. V14.
Don’t we sometimes feel the same when things are not working out?
The Bible has amazing promises. But when God doesn’t give us what we pray for, we feel deserted. And our faith withers, particularly if we are facing some daunting circumstances.
When our temple is destroyed, we feel God forgetting us. V14.
Responding to Israel’s despair, God didn’t say, “Just suck it up,” or “Poor child.” Instead, God asked whether a mother would forget her baby at her breast. V15.
Tending to Israel’s emotion and intellect, God used the metaphor of a mother and her nursing baby, a relationship they could understand.
It is difficult for mother to forget her nursing baby. Physically, stopping the nursing is painful because of Prolactin pushing milk out. Emotionally, stopping would rob the mother of her delight because bonding with her baby produces oxytocin.
Then God added that even mothers might forget, but He wouldn’t. V15, Psalm27:10.
Such affirming words are powerful. However, true love is shown by action. 1John3:18.
So, God further emphasized His love with the act of engraving Israel on His palms. V16. In Hebrew, “engraved” means using hammer and chisel.
Centuries later, addressing Thomas’ doubt, Christ showed him the wounds in His hands. John20:27.
When children don’t get what they want, feeling neglected, they could scream. Sometimes, we are similar. We should know we don’t need many things. Our identity is not based on stuffs.
We may be experiencing lots of suffering now, and God doesn’t listen to our prayer to take the pain away.
Remember the cross shows that God will never forsake us. On the cross, Christ was forsaken, taking the punishments we deserve.
The cross shows God’s unconditional love. We are engraved in His palms!
Summarized from a Tim Keller sermon.
以赛亚书49：1-13描绘了许多未來奇妙的事情 - 拯救临到地极，地土得恢复，被掳的得释放，饥渴不服再有。 甚至天地也一起欢呼快乐。
圣经里有许多奇妙的应许。可是如果上帝没有应允我们的祈求，我们就会感到被上帝抛弃, 信仰开始枯萎，特别是面对又大又难的境况之时。如果我们的圣殿被摧毁，我们也会感到被神忘记了 (v14）。