First Reading: Isaiah 49:14-15
Have you ever felt distance from God? How did you react to the feeling?
14 Zion said, "YHWH has forsaken me, and the Lord has forgotten me."
15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, these may forget, yet I will not forget you!"
World English Bible
When you were a child, did your ever feel lost? I felt that way when, at five years of age, I was temporally separated from my mother at a supermarket. The experience left an impression, for I still feel the panic of being abandoned and the relief of being found. As an adult, I know my mother would have never wished me to be alone in a strange place. But, as a child...
If you have ever felt that sense of abandonment as a child, even for a moment, I think you can empathize with the Israelites who returned from exile in Babylon and now faced an uncertain future. They arrived with the prospect of rebuilding not only a capital, but a national homeland,. At first, the work must have been exciting, but the excitement quickly wore off. The work soon became routine and turned into a rut. God did not seem close at all. The people must have felt cut off from their Maker.
Second Isaiah responded to their funk with an analogy of a nursing mother. No woman who nurses her own child can possibly hate that child. Even more the deity who gave birth to the nation of Israel could not forget his own, even if the mother did. If a mother denying her own child is impossible, the God of Israel forgetting his own people was unthinkable.
If you ever feel lost, cut off from God, remember the words of Second Isaiah. There may be distance between you and God, but God will not forget you. He is always faithful.
What reminds you of God's faithfulness? How can you use those images and memories help you in times of spiritual funk?