26. MORE THAN PARENTAL LOVE
"How precious also are Your thoughts unto me, O God!"
But Zion said, "The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me." Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yes, they may forget, yet will I not forget you. Isaiah 49:14-15
There are seasons in the experience of many of God's people, when, by reason of outward trials or inward troubles, they feel desolate and desponding. Spiritual comforts are gone. They have little of the hallowed communion they once enjoyed with their heavenly Father—little fervor or filial nearness in prayer—little pleasure in reading the Word or attending the Sanctuary. A chilling blight has passed over their spiritual being. In the bitterness of conscious estrangement from the God of their life, they are led to harbor the secret thought—"The Lord has forsaken me, and my Lord has forgotten me."
God points to the tenderest type of earthly love—the mother with her infant hanging on her breast, or seated by its cradle tending it in sickness. That infant's cry may fail to rouse the hireling from slumber; but with wakeful ear she anticipates its every need. For days and nights she seats herself by the couch of the tiny sufferer—smoothing every dimple in its pillow, and kissing away the hot tears from the fevered cheek.
Such, says God, is the most touching picture of tender human affection. "Yes," He adds, "they may forget." There may be exceptional cases where a mother may be found untrue to her offspring, and nature prove faithless to her strongest instincts. "Yet I will not forget you!"
Think of this. If His dealings should at times appear inexplicable, if amid baffling dispensations, we may be led at times to say, with Gideon of old, "If the Lord be with us, why is all this befallen us?"—let us hush the unkind misgiving—by the remembrance, that the affection of the fondest human parent to her offspring is but a feeble shadow compared to that of Him who pities as a father, comforts as a mother, and loves as God alone can do! The earthly parent sees it needful at times, to employ salutary rebuke and discipline. So does our Father in heaven at times consider it necessary to let His tenderest affection to His covenant people take the form of chastisement. But His faithfulness on that account dare not be questioned or impeached. He chastens us because He loves us. The time will come when all that is now dark and perplexing will be explained and vindicated. "What a day is before us," writes one who has the glowing wish fulfilled, "when we shall be able to adore His faithfulness, without the teaching of it by a crossed will and disappointed prospects!"
Go, burdened one, fearlessly on. He has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." That loving eye never slumbers—that wakeful vigilance is never suspended. Do not dishonor God by unbelieving distrust of His word and ways. Look back on the past—trace His footprints of love—the unmistakable tokens of His presence and supporting grace—let these be encouragements for the present and pledges for the future. The dearest earthly friend may forget you—distance may sever—memory may fail—the mind may become a blank—the old familiar greetings may be met only by an unconscious gaze—Death may have already, and at some time will, put his impressive seal on the most sacred interchanges of human affection—"YET I will not forget you!"
Yet I still belong to You; You are holding my right hand. Psalm 73:23