Not Abandoned

I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands. —Isaiah 49:15-16

Years ago, while my husband and I were visiting the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, we noticed a baby stroller by itself with no one nearby. We assumed that the parents had left it there because it was too bulky and were now carrying their child. But as we approached, we saw a sleeping baby inside. Where was a parent . . . a sibling . . . a babysitter? We hung around for quite some time before hailing a museum official. No one had shown up to claim that precious child! The last we saw of him, he was being wheeled away to a safe place.

That experience made me think about what it’s like to be abandoned. It’s an overwhelming feeling that no one cares anything about you. It’s a real and excruciatingly painful feeling. But even though people may abandon us, God’s love and presence is assured. The Lord promises that He will never leave us (Deut. 31:8). He will be with us wherever we go, “always, even to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

The Lord will never falter in His commitment to His children. Even if we have been abandoned by others, we can find confidence in His promise that nothing will ever “separate us from [His] love” (Rom. 8:35-39).

Father, thank You for Your never-failing presence
in every aspect of our lives. We count on Your
promise never to abandon us. Please teach us
to rest in that truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Confidence in God’s presence is our comfort.

God Knows You by Name

I have written your name on my hand. ISAIAH 49:16

Quite a thought, isn’t it? Your name on God’s hand. Your name on God’s lips. Maybe you’ve seen your name in some special places. On an award or diploma.… But to think that your name is on God’s hand and on God’s lips … my, could it be?

Or perhaps you have never seen your name honored. And you can’t remember when you heard it spoken with kindness. If so, it may be more difficult for you to believe that God knows your name.

But he does. Written on his hand. Spoken by his mouth. Whispered by his lips. Your name.

When God Whispers Your Name

God’s Sovereignty

“And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11)

This divine rebuke to Moses was occasioned when Moses complained of his inability to speak eloquently for God before Pharaoh. It is also a rebuke to each of us who would dare question God’s wisdom in making us as we are–even with all our innate defects and handicaps. With our very limited knowledge of God’s purposes and our very short range view of eternal priorities, we are ill-equipped to prejudge His ways with us.

To those who questioned why a man should be born blind, for example, Jesus answered: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:3). As another example, when certain believers complained about the lethal illness of a loved one, Jesus replied: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 11:4).

The steadfastness of Stephen’s faith as he was stoned to death led to Paul’s conversion, though at the time it must have seemed difficult for his Christian brethren to understand and accept. In another context, but stating a principle highly relevant to such questions, Jesus reminds us, “What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7). God is not capricious, but He is sovereign. Whatever He does is right, by definition, and whatever He allows is for a holy purpose. “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” (Romans 9:20).

It should be enough for now to know that He knows, and that when suffering comes for His sake, it is “for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). HMM

Learning to sing in the daytime too

“I call to remembrance my song in the night.” (Psalm 77:6.)

I HAVE read somewhere of a little bird that will never sing the melody his master wishes while his cage is full of light. He learns a snatch of this, a bar of that, but never an entire song of its own until the cage is covered and the morning beams shut out.

A good many people never learn to sing until the darkling shadows fall. The fabled nightingale carols with his breast against a thorn. It was in the night that the song of the angels was heard. It was at midnight that the cry came, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”

Indeed it is extremely doubtful if a soul can really know the love of God in its richness and in its comforting, satisfying completeness until the skies are black and lowering.

Light comes out of darkness, morning out of the womb of the night.

James Creelman, in one of his letters, describes his trip through the Balkan States in search of Natalie, the exiled Queen of Serbia.

“In that memorable journey,” he says, “I learned for the first time that the world’s supply of attar of roses comes from the Balkan Mountains. And the thing that interested me most,” he goes on, “is that the roses must be gathered in the darkest hours. The pickers start out at one o’clock and finish picking them at two.

“At first it seemed to me a relic of superstition; but I investigated the picturesque mystery, and learned that actual scientific tests had proven that fully forty per cent of the fragrance of roses disappeared in the light of day.”

And in human life and human culture that is not a playful, fanciful conceit; it is a real veritable fact.—Malcolm J. McLeod.

There is corn in Egypt

“There is corn in Egypt.” Genesis 42:2

Famine pinched all the nations, and it seemed inevitable that Jacob and his family should suffer great want; but the God of providence, who never forgets the objects of electing love, had stored a granary for His people by giving the Egyptians warning of the scarcity, and leading them to treasure up the grain of the years of plenty. Little did Jacob expect deliverance from Egypt, but there was the corn in store for him.

Believer, though all things are apparently against thee, rest assured that God has made a reservation on thy behalf; in the roll of thy griefs there is a saving clause. Somehow He will deliver thee, and somewhere He will provide for thee.

The quarter from which thy rescue shall arise may be a very unexpected one, but help will assuredly come in thine extremity, and thou shalt magnify the name of the Lord. If men do not feed thee, ravens shall; and if earth yield not wheat, heaven shall drop with manna.

Therefore be of good courage, and rest quietly in the Lord. God can make the sun rise in the west if He pleases, and make the source of distress the channel of delight. The corn in Egypt was all in the hands of the beloved Joseph; he opened or closed the granaries at will.

And so the riches of providence are all in the absolute power of our Lord Jesus, who will dispense them liberally to His people. Joseph was abundantly ready to succour his own family; and Jesus is unceasing in His faithful care for His brethren. Our business is to go after the help which is provided for us: we must not sit still in despondency, but bestir ourselves.

Prayer will bear us soon into the presence of our royal Brother: once before His throne we have only to ask and have: His stores are not exhausted; there is corn still: His heart is not hard, He will give the corn to us. Lord, forgive our unbelief, and this evening constrain us to draw largely from Thy fulness and receive grace for grace.

Have you tasted that the Lord is gracious?

“If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” 1 Peter 2:3

If:—then, this is not a matter to be taken for granted concerning every one of the human race. “If:”—then there is a possibility and a probability that some may not have tasted that the Lord is gracious. “If:”—then this is not a general but a special mercy; and it is needful to enquire whether we know the grace of God by inward experience. There is no spiritual favour which may not be a matter for heart-searching.

But while this should be a matter of earnest and prayerful inquiry, no one ought to be content whilst there is any such thing as an “if” about his having tasted that the Lord is gracious. A jealous and holy distrust of self may give rise to the question even in the believer’s heart, but the continuance of such a doubt would be an evil indeed. We must not rest without a desperate struggle to clasp the Saviour in the arms of faith, and say, “I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him.” Do not rest, O believer, till thou hast a full assurance of thine interest in Jesus.

Let nothing satisfy thee till, by the infallible witness of the Holy Spirit bearing witness with thy spirit, thou art certified that thou art a child of God. Oh, trifle not here; let no “perhaps” and “peradventure” and “if” and “maybe” satisfy thy soul. Build on eternal verities, and verily build upon them. Get the sure mercies of David, and surely get them. Let thine anchor be cast into that which is within the veil, and see to it that thy soul be linked to the anchor by a cable that will not break. Advance beyond these dreary “ifs;” abide no more in the wilderness of doubts and fears; cross the Jordan of distrust, and enter the Canaan of peace, where the Canaanite still lingers, but where the land ceaseth not to flow with milk and honey.